HSVMA Awards 2022 Compassionate Care Scholarships

August 29, 2022

By Heather Schrader, RVT, MCJ

For the past seven years HSVMA has awarded scholarships to veterinary students who show a dedication to animal welfare.  We recognize that it is extremely difficult to commit to activities outside of classes, labs and rotations due to the rigorous curriculum that is inherent to a veterinary education.  We are committed to empowering students who make animal welfare a priority not only in their education, but in their future as a professional.  Due to the competitive applicant pool this year, HSVMA is awarding a first place ($3,000), second place ($2,000) and two third place ($1,500) awards.  HSVMA would like to acknowledge and thank every one of the many qualified applicants.  They reinforce HSVMA's commitment to student outreach and reveal the remarkable activities that vet students achieve while in school.  HSVMA also thanks the supporters of this year's scholarships: Dr. Paula Kislak, HSVMA California State Co-Representative; Dr. Carrie Waters, HSVMA Texas & Maryland State Representative; Dr. Kate Maher, HSVMA Louisiana State Representative; and Dr. Barry Kipperman, HSVMA Board President and California State Co-Representative.  

If you are interested in contributing to the Compassionate Care Scholarship program and helping us assist more deserving veterinary students, please contact Heather Schrader at [email protected].

2022 Compassionate Care Scholarship Recipients

Nima Morady, 1st place, University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College, class of 2023

Samantha Zurlinden, 2nd place, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2023

Nicole Mahmood, 3rd place (tie), Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2024

Janelle Thomas, 3rd place (tie), Washington State University College of Veterinary medicine, class of 2024


Nima Morady (he,him) - 1st Place

University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College, class of 2023

Nima has been determined to promote animal welfare throughout his time in veterinary school.  Whether it’s through his volunteer work with Veterinarians Without Borders working to vaccinate livestock in Ghana and educate their caregivers about animal husbandry, or by recruiting for and participating in the annual AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest.  He has also been the HSVMA Student Representative at his school since 2020 and was a committee member of the AVC Welfare Club.  Both of these roles led him to organize events on welfare-related topics at Atlantic Veterinary College.  His persistent advocacy for humane teaching methods in veterinary school led him to spearhead the termination of the teaching beagle program which housed the dogs solely for the purpose of student learning.  

His outreach has extended to those outside the profession, as well.  Dr. Katy Proudfoot, Associate Professor at Atlantic Veterinary College says that “another passion of Nima’s is promoting pet ownership awareness in minority communities, as some minority groups don’t have personal pet ownership as a component of their cultures.”  In doing this, he also promotes the profession within underserved communities.  Nima has organized outreach to school children and has provided input for recruitment materials created by the veterinary college.

Nima has also been an integral part of DEI initiatives at his school.  He founded the BIPOC+Allies club, the first culturally inclusive club at the Atlantic Veterinary College.  He also joined the Dean’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Task Force to help the school administration better focus on these issues.  Dr. Anne Marie Carey, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at Atlantic Veterinary College, stated in her letter of recommendation that the principles of this work “foster success within our community, profession, and leadership, and they are closely tied to animal welfare outcomes.”  All of Nima’s work signifies an incredible devotion to the “One Welfare” concept of veterinary care. 


Samantha Zurlinden (she/her) - 2nd Place

North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2023

Samantha’s passion for behavior can be seen throughout her time working with animals.  During her employment as a zookeeper for the Denver Zoo, she used positive reinforcement training methods so the species under her care were cooperative participants in their own medical care.  Samantha and her team were recognized with the Jean M. Hromadka Excellence in Animal Care Award bestowed by the American Association of Zookeepers for excellence in animal husbandry and behavior management.

When Samantha decided to pursue a career in shelter medicine, she brought the same passion for behavior to her work.  As Lead Animal Care Technician at Adams County Animal Shelter in Colorado, she addressed the emotional needs of the animals during their stay so they were best equipped to find their forever homes.  Dr. Sara Bennett, Clinical Assistant Professor of Veterinary Behavior at North Carolina State University CVM, states “Ensuring that emotional wellbeing is included in providing complete care for sheltered animals was not something as commonly taken into account then as it is now, and Sam was already working as a trailblazer in this area back then.”

Samantha has applied her skills in veterinary school and is focused on shelter medicine, animal welfare, and behavior.  She is both Fear Free Certified and Low-Stress Handling Certified.  Samantha has competed in the AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest, and she completed a research project titled The Impact of Classical Counterconditioning on Barking in Kenneled Dogs, of which she is first author.  Her position as a Student VIN-tern with the Veterinary Information Network has allowed her the opportunity to edit and write articles on various behavior topics.  Samantha also finds the time to serve as an HSVMA Student Representative and served as the President of the Behavior Club (SCAVSAB).


Nicole Mahmood (she/her) - 3rd Place (tie)

Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine, class of 2024

When Nicole Mahmood started her classes at Midwestern University, she realized that the COVID-19 pandemic had shuttered most of the opportunities for veterinary students to provide community outreach.  She made it her goal to remedy this situation and reached out to Health Outreach Through Medicine and Education (H.O.M.E.).  H.O.M.E. was founded to provide free medical care and education to underserved individuals in the Phoenix, AZ, area.  Their veterinary outreach had halted temporarily due to the pandemic so Nicole recruited other veterinary students and met with the faculty advisor to get the veterinary arm of H.O.M.E. up and running again. 

Nicole formed a partnership with Street Medicine Phoenix, a student driven non-profit organization that brings students and faculty from multiple schools together to provide services for people experiencing homelessness.  This partnership enabled the veterinary student volunteers to provide Rabies vaccinations for pets of those seeking shelter since this is often a requirement for short-term housing.  It has also been instrumental in reaching out to more marginalized individuals.  Dr. Rachael Kreisler, Associate Professor of Shelter Medicine and Epidemiology and faculty advisor for H.O.M.E., states “Nicole’s expansion to work with Street Medicine has allowed us to reach members who we would be less likely to encounter via regularly scheduled mobile clinics. We also work with the patients in front of the client instead of on a mobile clinic, a setup that both the client and patient are more comfortable with.”

Nicole currently serves as the President of H.O.M.E. Veterinary Medicine at the Midwestern CVM.  She says her “long-term goal is to re-establish H.O.M.E. and create a solid foundation of community outreach partnerships for veterinary students to volunteer through and provide their skills and services to pets of people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.”


Janelle Thomas (she/her) - 3rd Place (tie)

Washington State University College of Veterinary medicine, class of 2024

Janelle Thomas stated in her scholarship application that it is her “mission to reduce suffering, promote well-being, and be a servant to the pillars of animal rights and welfare in my profession...”  Her activities during veterinary school have proven without a doubt that this is true.  As part of the SAVMA National House of Delegates, Janelle is a member of the Animal Welfare and Environmental Stewardship Committee and the student liaison to the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee.  In this role she offers a student perspective on welfare topics.  Janelle also completed an AVMA Animal Welfare Division Externship this past summer.  Her tasks included literature reviews vital to incorporating revisions to the AVMA’s Humane Slaughter of Animals Guidelines, annotating and digitizing Temple Grandin’s notes to be included in the guidelines, and assisting with incorporation of the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Assessment Contest to the annual SAVMA Symposium. 

Janelle also participated in the AVMA’s Legislative Fly-In which provides veterinary students the opportunity to advocate for animal welfare-related legislation in Washington, DC.  This experience allowed her to witness the power veterinary professionals have in the advocacy arena.  Janelle is currently the Vice President of the Law and Ethics Club at WSU CVM and participated in the 2021 AVMA Animal Welfare Assessment Contest.  According to Dr. Stephen Hines, Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Microbiology & Pathology at WSU CVM and recipient of the 2020 AAVMC Distinguished Veterinary Teacher award, “Janelle’s record documents her strong interest in animal welfare and relevant experience in other indicated focus area – Animal & Public Health / One Health. Her work in this sector includes local club membership and leadership at WSU…”

Click here to read about last year's Compassionate Care Scholarship recipients

The HSVMA Compassionate Care Scholarships application will be available next year. Contact [email protected] with any questions about the program.