NC State’s Grobman Earns Prestigious National Equine Scholarship

Alex Grobman, a member of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2022,  is one of four national winners of this year’s $75,000 Coyote Rock Ranch Scholarship in support of students dedicated to equine medicine. 

The scholarship, sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Foundation for the Horse, is considered one of the most prestigious in the country for future equine veterinarians. It recognizes academic excellence, leadership skills, and long-term goals within the equine field. 

Grobman was honored at the AAEP’s annual convention on Dec. 6 in Nashville, Tenn.

“It still really hasn’t sunk in for me yet; it still doesn’t feel real,” says Grobman. “The caliber of people who apply to this is just so off the charts.”

She is the fourth NC State student to earn the scholarship since it was launched in 2015. Its namesake is a ranch in Oregon owned by Penelope Knight, a breeder and horse health advocate who created the scholarship.

At the convention, Grobman was also recognized as the inaugural recipient of the AAEP’s $5,000 Dr. Bill Rood Leadership.

She has received several scholarships during her DVM studies, including the Annable Scholarship for three years, the Charlotte Bacon Veterinary Education Scholarship and the Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholars Award, all through the CVM.

“Veterinary students put their heart and soul into the work that they do,” she says. “The fact that I can, without financial burden, put 100 percent of myself into bettering the lives of our clients and patients — there’s really no words to describe it.”

Student Alex Grobman with horse.

The scholarship, sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Foundation for the Horse, is considered one of the most prestigious in the country for future equine veterinarians. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Grobman, who grew up with horses and started riding as a child  — “I’ve just never been able to stay away,” she says — earned her bachelor’s in animal science from NC State in 2018. She has been a presence at the CVM since her undergraduate days when she worked with the dairy, small ruminant and equine units.

She was a teaching assistant in several pre-veterinary courses, a student teacher and active in the Hunt Seat Equestrian Club. Through NC State, Grobman has traveled to South Africa twice to study wild game mobile practices. 

At the CVM, among other equine-focused activities, Grobman has worked as a student technician in the equine hospital and served as president of the CVM’s student chapter of the AAEP last year. 

Grobman first met Lauren Schnabel, CVM associate professor of equine orthopedic surgery, when she was an undergraduate assistant in Schnabel’s lab studying the potential of stem cells to treat musculoskeletal diseases and injuries.

“I am so proud of Alex for all that she has accomplished and for receiving this prestigious scholarship,” says Schnabel. “Alex is an exceptional student and is dedicated to a career in equine practice.  She has taken advantage of all opportunities available to foster this career. I look forward to having Alex as a colleague and know that she has a very bright future ahead.”

Following graduation, Grobman will begin a rotating internship in June at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala, in her home state of Florida. She’s aiming for a career that combines equine surgery, clinical medicine, research and teaching.

 “Every teacher that I’ve ever had at NC state has been extremely supportive and willing to sacrifice a lot of their time to make sure that we as students were taken care of,” Grobman says. “I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to come here, and I’m grateful to Coyote Rock Ranch and Penelope Knight. They’ve given equine students the opportunity to pursue a career without financial burden. That has a very positive impact on the equine community.”

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine