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DVM student Paige Palomaki awarded national PetSmart Charities scholarship

  • Paige Palomaki

    DVM student Paige Palomaki awarded national PetSmart Charities scholarship

Third-year DVM student Paige Palomaki has been selected as the recipient of the PetSmart Charities 2021-2022 Steve Marton Scholarship.

The Steve Marton Veterinary Student Scholarship is awarded to a veterinary student in the United States who embodies the mission and vision of PetSmart Charities, especially veterinary students at the forefront of providing accessible veterinary care in under-resourced communities.

The scholarship awards Palomaki up to $50,000 to cover one academic year’s tuition. She is enrolled in the dual Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health program.  

“[Paige] was a standout candidate from over 60 applicants nationwide, and we tremendously admire her commitment, leadership, and professionalism in her approach to accessible veterinary care,” PetSmart Charities said in a statement.

Palomaki currently serves as the co-president of VeTouch, a non-profit veterinary student club that provides basic pet care and nutritional support to low or no-income Twin Cities families. 

“This scholarship means the world to me. I’ve dedicated so much of my time over the past five years to VeTouch because I know this organization is doing some really special work,” Palomaki says. “It’s an organization that gave me confidence that I could get into and succeed in vet school back when I was in undergrad, and I've seen the leaders of this organization continue to make it better and better every year for our clients, patients, and the students involved.”

VeTouch is one facet of CVM's community medicine initiative, which also encompasses student-led veterinary training clinics organized by SIRVS, the College’s partnership with Animal Humane Society, partnerships with Minnesota-based animal rescues and shelters to provide specialty and low-cost services, and donor-funded financial assistance for clients of CVM’s veterinary hospitals. For more than 10 years, community medicine groups and programs at CVM have sought to train veterinarians along a continuum of care model using a holistic approach to veterinary medicine—which includes cross-cultural competency—while also improving access to care for pets in communities.

In addition to her leadership role with VeTouch, Palomaki and five teammates also participated and won the 2021 Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility’s (CGHSR) Global Health Case Competition. She and the team went on to compete virtually at the 2021 international Emory Morningside Global Health Case Competition, where they took 8th place out of 52 teams from 13 different countries. Palomaki also served as the 2020-2021 co-chair of the Global Health Student Advisory Board Global Health Student Advisory Board. 

Palomaki also works as a Chronic Wasting Disease sample collector for the Minnesota Center for Prion Research and Outreach and as a clinical assistant for The Raptor Center. 

Within this breadth of experience, community medicine and outreach remains a strong focus for Palomaki, especially when it comes to connecting with clients and their pets.  

“Some of our clients see us as their only option to provide the quality vet care that they want for their pets,” she says. “These owners care so much for their pets, but they've had so many barriers thrown in their path to be able to care for their pets the way they really want to. Being able to support our communities in the ways that we do is one of the most incredible impacts the veterinary profession can make, and the work we get to do is one of the most impactful learning experiences we vet students can get during these four years.”