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Impactful leadership

  • Madison Baumgartner holds a cat

    Impactful leadership

    DVM student Madison Baumgartner earns PetSmart Charities scholarship for commitment to increasing veterinary care access

    Fourth-year DVM student Madison Baumgartner holds a feline patient at a SIRVS clinic. Photo courtesy of Madison Baumgartner. 

Making a difference through leadership has been a large part of Madison Baumgartner’s veterinary education at the University of Minnesota. 

A fourth-year DVM student at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), she is an active member of student organizations and her impact through that work has earned her prestigious national recognition. Baumgartner is a 2023 recipient of PetSmart Charities’ Steve Marton Veterinary Student Scholarship, which awards up to $50,000 for a year of tuition at a veterinary college in the United States. 

The scholarship is given to up to three veterinary students nationwide who are at the forefront of providing accessible veterinary care in under-resourced communities. 

Madison Baumgartner

“These inspiring students champion the human-animal bond, keeping pets together with their families, and have shown exceptional leadership in providing access to veterinary care for those in need.” PetSmart Charities wrote about Baumgartner and her fellow 2023 winners in an Instagram post. 

Baumgartner’s work with Veterinary Business Management Association’s (VBMA) local and national chapters and the Student Initiative for Reservation Veterinary Services (SIRVS) were key to her scholarship award. 

She got involved with VBMA and became the chapter’s director of marketing during her first year at CVM. After that, Baumgartner turned her sights to the organization’s national board and was chosen to serve as its 2022 president. The national board oversees 37 chapters, and Baumgartner spearheaded a fundraising campaign that helped support their efforts. 

“I was able to raise or get sponsorship funding of $415,000 to be used in support of the chapters that are making a difference in their local communities,” she says. “It was such a life-changing opportunity to be able to have such an impact, and I'm very humbled by it.”

Baumgartner also is involved in SIRVS, serving as its paperwork chair for two years. SIRVS is a student-run group that provides no-cost veterinary services to pets of partner communities in tribal nations in Minnesota and neighboring states. 

Working with both VBMA and SIRVS gives Baumgartner an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of pets and people beyond CVM’s walls. It’s all part of a journey she has been set on since she was young. The veterinary profession called to Baumgartner while she grew up on her family’s farm in North Dakota. 

“I grew up surrounded by animals,” she says. “Some of my favorite childhood memories were caring for and feeding the animals as well as taking them to the vet or having the vet come out and work on our cattle. I saw a little glimpse into the life of a veterinarian, and I knew that was definitely the path for me.”

Once she graduates, Baumgartner is interested in general practice and hopes to one day return to North Dakota to provide veterinary services to rural communities that often face veterinary care shortages. In time, she’d like to run her own practice with lessons learned from VMBA and from watching her father run his own construction business.