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SDSU Celebrates Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine Students with Blue Coat Ceremony

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Students in the second cohort of the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine include: top row – Amy Scharf, Boone Schmitz, McKenna Kimmerle, row 4 – Morgan Simon, Lucas Lazorik, Katie Evans, Benjamin Dentlinger, row 3 – Grace Phinney, Joshua Bartels, Holly Keppers, Alexis Freese, row 2 – Brianna Hotzler, Jadyn Vetos, Traelene Fallis, Emily Cap, front row – Shailey Marczak, Wendy Blickensderfer, Lauren Kassilke, Madison Thieman, Jennifer Johnson.

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The second class of South Dakota State University Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine students was honored at a Blue Coat Ceremony on October 22, 2022, where each student was presented with a personalized blue Carhartt® work coat.

The blue coats are SDSU’s way of honoring students’ entrance into the veterinary medicine profession. Each coat is sponsored by a veterinarian from South Dakota or the surrounding region.

“This is a work coat that symbolizes the hard work you are doing both in veterinary school, but also in your career as a veterinarian,” said Russ Daly, SDSU professor, SDSU Extension Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian. “It is a coat to keep you warm and remind you that there are people here to support you. The coats are from veterinarians who chose to purchase them just for you – this symbolizes a community of veterinarians who are behind you, and we hope you will wear these coats with pride for years to come.”

Erin Burton, Senior Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs for the University of Minnesota (UMN) College of Veterinary Medicine also conveyed positive messages to the students on behalf of the UMN. The UMN College of Veterinary Medicine and SDSU partner together to offer the collaborative program, admitting 20 students per class to complete their first two years of veterinary school at SDSU in Brookings before finishing their last two years on the UMN campus in St. Paul.

“The blue Carhartt® coat is a symbol of the hard work and dedication that veterinary students exhibit while going through veterinary school and upon graduation as a veterinarian,” said Jessie Juarez, director of the SDSU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine. “I am proud that each coat was sponsored by veterinarians from South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota who provided words of encouragement to our PPVM students during the ceremony.”

Veterinary students celebrated and presented with a blue coat at the ceremony include:

  • Joshua Bartels of Glenwood, Minnesota – sponsored by Dr. Dean Christianson of Ashley Veterinary Clinic in Ashley, North Dakota
  • Wendy Blickensderfer of Rapid City, South Dakota – sponsored by Dr. George Twitero of Black Hills Animal Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Emily Cap of Tabor, South Dakota – sponsored by Sioux Nation Veterinary Clinic in Freeman, South Dakota
  • Benjamin Dentlinger of New Virginia, Iowa – sponsored by Dr. Grant Weaver of Aurora Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Northfield, Minnesota
  • Katie Evans of Parker, Colorado – sponsored by Dr. Cindy Franklin of Animal Health Clinic in Yankton, South Dakota
  • Traelene Fallis of Fort Thompson, South Dakota – sponsored by Dr. Corale Dorn of Dells Veterinary Services in Dell Rapids, South Dakota, and Western Veterinary Services in Kadoka and Philip, South Dakota
  • Alexis Freese of Fulda, Minnesota – sponsored by Pipestone Veterinary Services in Pipestone, Minnesota
  • Briana Hotzler of Hosmer, South Dakota – sponsored by Northern Plains Animal Health in Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Jennifer Johnson of Gravity, Iowa – sponsored by Dr. Nate Illiff of Sisseton Veterinary Service in Sisseton, South Dakota
  • Lauren Kassilke of Auburn, Alabama – sponsored by Dr. Jane Christopher-Hennings of Arlington, South Dakota
  • Holly Keppers of Holdingford, Minnesota – sponsored by Dr. Jennifer Fischer of Valley City Veterinary Hospital in Valley City, North Dakota
  • McKenna Kimmerle of Becker, Minnesota – sponsored by Dr. Adam Benson of Big Sioux Veterinary Care, PLLC in Brookings, South Dakota
  • Lucas Lazorik of Mellen, Wisconsin – sponsored by Dr. Adam Benson of Big Sioux Veterinary Care, PLLC in Brookings, South Dakota
  • Shailey Marczak of Cottonwood, Minnesota – sponsored by Clear Lake Veterinary Clinic, PC in Clear Lake, South Dakota
  • Grace Phinney of Mitchell, South Dakota – sponsored by Dr. Jennifer Stevens of Horizon Pet Care in Brandon, South Dakota
  • Amy Scharf of Arvado, Colorado – sponsored by Dr. Jessi Warrington of Webster Veterinary Clinic in Webster, South Dakota
  • Boone Schmitz of Mineral Point, Wisconsin – sponsored by Dr. David Zeman of Brookings, South Dakota
  • Morgan Simon of Carver, Minnesota – sponsored by Dr. Kay Miller of Fulton, South Dakota
  • Madison Thieman of Winner, South Dakota – sponsored by Animal Clinic, Ltd. in Winner, South Dakota
  • Jadyn Vetos of Nampa, Idaho – sponsored by Dr. William Howard of Howard Veterinary Clinic in Watertown, South Dakota

“The Blue Coat Ceremony was a tremendous success this year – we are building a proud tradition at SDSU that celebrates our students’ entrance into the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine,” said Juarez.

The Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine allows students to gain hands-on practical experience working with food and companion animals during their time at SDSU, while preparing to serve in critical roles across the spectrum of animal health, environmental health and public health.

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Margaret Sumption was recognized by SDFU for her service to rural youth as a volunteer, with the esteemed Minnie Lovinger Award. Sumption is pictured here with Aeriel Eitreim (left) Senior Advisory Council member from Sioux Falls and Cadence Konechne, (right) Jr. Junior Advisory Council member from Kimball.


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