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Three Online Students Receive ASPCA Scholarships for Spring Semester

Published: January 29th, 2013

Category: News, Online News

ASPCA GrantsCongratulations to our spring ASPCA scholarship recipients!

Thanks to a generous grant from the ASPCA, these three outstanding students will have the opportunity to gain knowledge that can help save the lives and improve the well-being of countless numbers of shelter animals. As students in Maddie’s® Online Graduate Certificate Program in Shelter Medicine, they will receive a tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of the current course, Shelter Animal Behavior and Welfare.

Dr. Karen Ashby

Dr. Karen Ashby

Elena Contreras

Elena Contreras

Dr. Lisa Shriver

Dr. Lisa Shriver

Click on a photo to meet the scholarship recipient!


Meet the Recipients

Dr. Karen AshbyDr. Karen Ashby

Dr. Karen Clarke-Ashby graduated with honors from the University Of Florida College Of Veterinary Medicine in 1987. While practicing small animal medicine in Miami, FL, she began offering her relief veterinary services to the local county shelter, Miami Dade Animal Services (MDAS), and was moved to  found the “MVC PUP E” Program, the Miami Veterinary Coalition to Prevent (and End) Unwanted Pet Euthanasias. MVCPUPE focuses on four areas that impact unwanted/shelter pets: Behavior, Spay – Neuter, Education, and Veterinary Care.

This Shelter Medicine program will provide her with a solid foundation to continue to help these pets in the Miami-Dade community more effectively, including through her continued work with MVC PUP E and MDAS.


Elena ContrerasElena Contreras

Like many children, I wanted to become a veterinarian, but unlike many veterinary students, I did not finally decide to enter veterinary school until mid-life, after working as an ecologist for an international conservation organization. Inspired by my formerly-“unadoptable” shelter-dog, who suffered from bilateral hind limb paralysis and later passed away, I finally changed careers in order to pursue shelter medicine, to be able to provide veterinary care for those animals without personal caregivers. Prior to vet school, I worked at various shelters and sanctuaries; this work further highlighted the urgent need for appropriate veterinary care and oversight in such facilities.

As a vet student at Ross University, I served as President of both the student chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and local non-profit group, People for Animal Welfare on St. Kitts. I am currently completing my clinical year of vet school at Oregon State University, and I will graduate from Ross University in May 2013, after which I hope to obtain a shelter medicine internship. Maddie’s Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine is providing me with the foundation of knowledge necessary to understand the unique veterinary, behavioral, environmental and welfare needs within a shelter environment. This kind of critical and specialized education is not otherwise available in my current veterinary school institutions, yet this knowledgebase is essential in order to become a competent shelter veterinarian.

When I first received the email message stating that the Certificate in Shelter Medicine would be offered online, I immediately registered, as this opportunity is unrivaled, allowing me to continue my traditional veterinary school training while also undertaking specialized shelter medicine training. Furthermore, the courses and curriculum are being taught by some of the most renowned experts in the field, presenting the most up-to-date insights, research and advances in the field. This Certificate and training is truly providing me with further inspiration and an exceptional opportunity to gain competencies and a better understanding of how I will be able to affect change and help improve the lives of so many shelter and homeless animals in need.

When I am not in vet school, I live in Missoula, Montana with my husband and two senior, former-shelter, amputee dogs, one of whom is also deaf.


Dr. Lisa Shriver

Dr. Lisa Shriver

I first became interested in shelter medicine over 10 years ago while working at the Louisiana SPCA.  I saw the normally helpless and unwanted shelter animals receive a new chance at life, in large part due to the efforts of the medical team.  My work there inspired me to attend veterinary school, with the understanding that I would always in some way be involved with the developing field of shelter medicine.

I view this multidisciplinary field as fascinating, challenging and as offering unparalleled rewards.  And although shelter medicine can sometimes be incredibly complex, at the same time, small changes can often make enormous differences in the health and welfare of the shelter animals.

The education I am gaining from the Maddie’s® Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine is proving to be invaluable in both my professional development and my ability to reach out to sheltered animals in need.  The multifaceted courses in this program afford broad, but in-depth instruction which provides the most current knowledge in this field from world-renowned instructors.  I am greatly expanding my ability to optimize the physical, behavioral and environmental health of the shelter animals I work with, while addressing the needs of both the individual animals as well as the population as a whole.

I’m thrilled to have found this program so early in my career, so that the knowledge I gain can benefit animal welfare for many years to come.