Brendan Martin of Mt. Solon, Virginia, has received the AABP Foundation – Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholarship to support his career in large-animal veterinary medicine. 

Martin is a fourth-year veterinary student at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

The $5,000 national scholarship is awarded to 15 veterinary students each year through a collaboration between Zoetis and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Foundation.

Martin also received an expenses-paid trip to the AABP Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in September.

The 24-year-old grew up on a beef cattle, poultry, and crop farm in Augusta County, Virginia, where he helped his dad background steers and helped his cousins with their dairy. When he first came to Virginia Tech for his bachelor’s degree in 2008, Martin’s plan was to double major in animal and poultry sciences and dairy science.

While studying at Virginia Tech, he became interested in bovine reproduction and started a Angus cow/calf herd from just a few cows. 

“I have been able to use my herd of cattle to learn on, as well as to help pay for school,” he said. His degree plans changed once he was granted early acceptance into the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Martin knew that he wanted to farm since high school, but said he also realized that he could not afford to buy a farm. 

“I chose to attend college, with the goal of going to veterinary school so that I could work with cattle, farmers, and ranchers throughout the day, and then have the ability of owning my own farm as well. I have always enjoyed cattle and being part of agriculture,” he said.

A member of the veterinary college’s Food Animal Practitioners Club, he has worked alongside practitioners in Virginia, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri to learn synchronization programs for cows and heifers, artificial insemination, embryo transfer, and reproductive ultrasound. 

“Knowing how to perform these procedures and which ones to use will help producers become more efficient and hopefully result in a more profitable enterprise for them,” said the Class of 2015 student. 

Martin’s career goal is to obtain a job in a progressive bovine practice where he can “work with producers and their livestock in a rural setting. I plan to own a farm myself and continue to operate a cow/calf herd,” he explained.

Martin is only the second student from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine to win the scholarship. Dr. Sarah Krall, who won the scholarship in 2009, now practices at Shenandoah Animal Hospital in Woodstock, Virginia. 

“AABP and Zoetis are committed to the next generation of veterinarians,” said Dr. M. Gatz Riddell Jr., veterinarian and AABP executive vice president. “Our hope is these students will soon enter the field of veterinary medicine and become leaders in our industry.” More than $500,000 has been awarded to 107 students in the last six years.