Rebecca Brotzman DVM’07 can remember the pride she felt at the 2007 School of Veterinary Medicine Celebration of Excellence when, as a soon-to-be graduate, she was presented with an award for clinical proficiency in bovine medicine.
“It was a special reward for a job well done and quite an honor to be selected by the clinicians that I worked under,” she recalls. “I felt like I was being welcomed into the profession and that I had accomplished what I set out to do. It built my confidence.”
Today, as vice president for the Rock Valley Veterinary Medical Association, Brotzman helps to bestow similar support for a graduating DVM student from the organization’s home base of Rock, Green, Jefferson, or Walworth counties. For nearly 30 years the group has sponsored a $1,000 annual award, increased to $2,000 in recent years, for a fourth-year UW veterinary medical student proficient in clinical medicine and surgery.
The award “is an important part of why we exist and why we do what we do,” Brotzman says. “We’re welcoming in the next generation by offering this scholarship, but also rewarding hard work.”
Even when the organization has faced limited resources, member support for the honor has always persisted. “At a time when we’re looking at budgets and considering different costs, it never crosses our mind that we would get rid of the scholarship. It’s such a valuable component of us supporting each other in the sense that these students are our colleagues now,” she says.
Having experienced the rigors and financial demands of a veterinary medical education firsthand, Brotzman would encourage others to support student scholarships and awards.
“Supporting students is probably one of the most direct ways you can positively impact veterinary medical education,” she says. “When you can directly impact the life of a student, I think there will be other far-reaching benefits.”
This article appeared in the winter 2019-20 issue of On Call magazine.