Caitlyn Rize, a third year DVM student at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, was recently awarded the HSVMA Compassionate Care Scholarship, which offers three scholarship awards to veterinary students for their commitment to animal welfare issues. This program was created in 2016 to honor students balancing their time-intensive veterinary curriculum with their passion for animal welfare issues.
Rize received a bachelor’s degree in biomolecular science in 2014 and a master of social work in 2016, both at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She serves as co-president of the Veterinary Treatment Outreach for Urban Community Health (VeTOUCH), a student organization that partners with different communities in the Twin Cities area to provide monthly no-cost clinics to pet owners, while giving students a chance to practice their clinical skills. Rize was also recently selected to receive the 2020 President’s Student Leadership and Service Award, which recognizes students' efforts to strengthen the University community.
Rize says that VeTouch was a big factor in her decision to come to the University of Minnesota for veterinary school because of her passion for community engagement and service learning. “Sometimes I take a step back and I’m astounded by what we do on a monthly basis while being full-time veterinary students because this organization is completely student-run,” she says. “We have excellent support from our faculty advisors and the CVM at-large, but they also allow us students to really take the reigns and gain true experience with clinic management.”
We have excellent support from our faculty advisors and the CVM at-large, but they also allow us students to really take the reigns and gain true experience with clinic management.
Caitlyn Rize, class of 2021
Along with serving on the VeTouch student board, Rize works for the Midwest Animal Rescue and Services (MARS). She was drawn to MARS’s mission of helping both people and animals — especially the animals that are overlooked or considered untreatable by other rescues. Her experience working in low-cost veterinary clinical settings inspires her to help pets and owners facing obstacles in accessing veterinary care after graduation.
Says Rize: “I am passionate about using my background in social work and my education in veterinary medicine to provide a service for marginalized populations — no matter if they have two or four legs."