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VIN Foundation Announces Solutions for the Profession Competition Winners

We are very happy to announce the winners of its first annual Solutions for the Profession Competition. Three creative students were awarded cash prizes to help with educational expenses.

The competition offers veterinary students an opportunity to share an innovative solution to a problem facing the profession. Over one hundred entries were submitted from around the world. Veterinary student debt and mental health were the most common problems addressed.

VIN Foundation’s Board Chairman, Dr. Richard Headley, stated “This essay competition provides an opportunity for veterinary students to participate in helping to solve some of the pressing issues in our profession. It is invigorating to read so many good solutions to the issues we are facing. I am honored the VIN Foundation is able to shed light on how we can collaborate to positively impact the profession for future generations.” 

Judges found it difficult to select only three winners from the entries. The VIN Foundation Solutions for the Profession Committee selected the top thirty entries in the first round of judging. These essays were assessed by experts in the topic areas, who passed the top seven to three well-known leaders in the veterinary profession. The final judges, after much discussion, selected the winners:

First place was awarded to Hanum Wensil-Strow for her thought-provoking essay on the veterinary student debt situation. Hanum is entering her fourth year has a student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She is interested in large animal medicine and wildlife conservation.

Second place went to Shannon Finn for her innovative approach to the mental health issues challenging colleagues in the veterinary profession. Shannon is entering her fourth and final year at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Canada. She is hoping to go into rural food animal practice upon graduation, but also has interests in public health and regulatory medicine.

Alexandra Ripperger won third place for her inventive approach to gender inequality. Alexandra is entering her fourth year as a veterinary student at the University of Minnesota. She enjoys working with small animals, and small ruminants/camelids.                                                                                                 

The VIN Foundation will announce the second annual competition later this year, stay tuned to find our more on the Solutions for the Professsion Competition page

The full press release was distributed by PR Newswire.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and as always your feedback is welcome.

VIN Foundation Launches Student Debt Center

We are excited to announce the launch of our Student Debt Center, a mobile-friendly comprehensive resource for all things related to student debt, in particular veterinary student debt.

With veterinarians leaving school having a debt load routinely exceeding two times their salary, and far surpassing the “healthy” debt-to-income ratio of most professions, this is a critical issue impacting the veterinary profession. Veterinary student debt-related stress is taking a toll on individuals and the profession – a toll measured in physical, emotional and financial stress. The VIN Foundation is answering the call to this crisis with the Student Debt Center.

Helping veterinarians understand their borrowing and loan repayment options is key to surviving this crisis. It starts before veterinary school and continues for the duration of loan repayment; this is where the VIN Foundation can help our colleagues climb, survive and thrive no matter how high their debt load.

The VIN Foundation Student Debt Center is made up of three sections:

1. The Cost of Education Map, a realistic look at the cost of veterinary schools, taking into consideration resident, non-resident, and private tuition along with living expenses.

2. The Student Loan Repayment Simulator, an interactive program giving detailed repayment cost comparisons based on anticipated income, family information, total loan amount and repayment plan. A forgiveness planning module also helps those utilizing income-driven repayment understand and plan for estimated tax consequences due to forgiveness.

3. WikiDebt, a resource library for all things dealing with educational debt specific to veterinary students and veterinarians.

As with all the VIN Foundation programs, the Student Debt Center is a free resource. You may learn more at and share with your colleagues to help the veterinary profession thrive.

You may view the press release here.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and as always your feedback is welcome.

VIN Foundation Announces First Annual Solutions for the Profession Competition

We are excited to announce the first annual VIN Foundation Solutions for the Profession Competition. This competition is open to students currently enrolled in veterinary school.

Three entrants will win scholarships to help support tuition and education related expenses:
•    First place: $3,000
•    Second place: $1,500
•    Third place: $1,000

Entrants are asked to submit an essay outlining “An Innovative and Implementable Solution to a Current Problem Confronting the Veterinary Profession.”

We hope you will share this opportunity with your students.

Visit the Solutions for the Profession Competition program page for detail

Please let us know if you have any questions, and as always your feedback is welcome.


VIN Foundation at 2014 SAVMA Conference

Thursday, November 10, 2014, 6:00 PM Bree Montana with eager students

Traveling to visit with Veterinary Students at their annual SAVMA conference is always inspiring. Our young colleagues have so much enthusiasm for medicine and their burgeoning careers that they inspire me to return to my practice ready to learn more and do more, myself. This past year, my conversations focused on our VIN Foundation support programs. I enjoyed guiding students through the materials they will find useful as they approach clinics and their first jobs (Getting through the day and getting through the night), or contemplate Internship programs (Internship Survey). The Model Contract was a frequent topic- a really useful free tool for new job seekers as well as their future employers to use.

Walking students through the Loan Repayment programs was always an eye opener. Helping colleagues empower themselves to manage their debt load was and will be a key to allowing them to enjoy their careers with less financial worry *link.

Supportive programs such as Bankruptcy Club (a group for VINners who are contemplating, experiencing, or living through bankruptcy.), Bridge (a group for VINners with health conditions that affect their ability to practice.), SUCcers (aka the Startup Club, a group for VINners who have or are planning a startup), Vets In Recovery (a confidential, identity-protected group for VINners who are in/or seeking recovery from any addiction), and VETS4VETS (support for VINners with all kinds of issues -- pretty much anything and everything that we veterinarians go through! ) were introduced to provide support where it might be needed now or in the future.

Through our outreach at the SAVMA conference, we were able to introduce programs that would support our colleagues in school, internship, as associates, practice owners and on into retirement.

VIN Foundation at 2013 SAVMA Symposium

Thursday, December 12, 2013, 6:00 PM Students heading to clinics, Internships, and the working world review the Loan Repayment simulator

Visiting the SAVMA conference this past year provided a touch point with Veterinary Students in all stages of their schooling.The VINFoundation provided onsite tutorials, helping students work with several online tools and tutorials. By helping students understand their individual debt loads as well as several options for repayment using the loan repayment simulator, we hope to empower tomorrow's veterinary colleagues today.

VIN Foundation at 2013 SAVMA Symposium

Thursday, December 12, 2013, 6:00 PM

At the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Symposium 2010 held in Madison, Wis., last March, the VIN Foundation donated 1800 free textbooks to veterinary students.

The VIN Foundation gave away copies of five books: Atlas of Feline Ophthalmology, Canine & Feline Dental Radiography, Diagnostic Ultrasound of Dog & Cat, Food Animal Surgery, and an RMM book of cartoons called "A Mid-stream Collection." After all the available books were taken, some copies were mailed to students after the symposium. The publisher, Veterinary Learning Systems, needed to free up some storage space and the VIN Foundation offered to pay to ship the books to the symposium and give them away.

"I was in awe of the amount of books they handed out," said Megan Wehrwein, a third-year student in Wisconsin who helped organize the symposium. "Hands down, I would say VIN Foundation was the most popular booth at the symposium. Anytime you walked outside the booth area, people would walk up and ask where it was because they'd heard they were giving away books. It surprised people that they didn't have to sign up for something and they could just walk way with some really great books. It definitely was the way to start your reference library".

"We went to SAVMA to introduce ourselves to those students who will soon be new graduates," said Paul Pion, DVM, DipACVIM, a board member of the VIN Foundation. "We wanted to get out and meet and talk to students, and better understand their needs as they work toward entering the profession. We also wanted to let them get to know the VIN Foundation." The goal of the VIN Foundation is to ease the transition from student to working veterinarian.

Hosted by SAVMA members at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, the student organizers pitched in and helped unload and prepare the book give-away.

The symposium, which will be held in Davis, Calif., next year, was a useful tool for students. "From what I heard other students say, the number of wet labs and lectures was well worth the time and money to come," said Wehrwein. "We even had ten students from overseas. Wisconsin always plans spring break to coincide with SAVMA, but some schools don't, and some students missed school for it. I met some really great people and I had fun."

VIN Foundation serves animal- and human-kind by ensuring veterinary professionals have the tools,
confidence and support to thrive. Empowering ONE empowers all. 

What is the need for the VIN Foundation?

Veterinary medicine spans areas including food animal and meat inspection, academia and research, international health and public awareness, as well as cutting edge surgery, diagnostic testing, and medical treatments for every animal species. The strength and health of our pets, agriculture, research, families, and communities depend upon a healthy, vibrant, and strong veterinary profession. Supporting and advocating for individuals within the profession is the heart and soul of the VIN Foundation. By helping veterinary professionals navigate the challenges of their careers, the VIN Foundation is helping to better serve animal- and human-kind.

Learn more.


The VIN Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was created by members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) in 2005. VIN is an online community of veterinarians and veterinary students with over 50,000 members worldwide. The VIN Foundation is made possible through generous gifts by individual donors and grants, all gifts made to the VIN Foundation are tax deductible.

© 2005 - 2017 VIN Foundation. All Rights Reserved. VIN Foundation Phoenix House, 413 F Street, Davis, CA 95616,, (888) 616-6506. Photographs provided by Teresa (Teri) Zgoda.