Brookings Register | Ceremony celebrates veterinary medicine students

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BROOKINGS – The South Dakota State University Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine first grade was honored at the Blue Coat Opening Ceremony on November 5th, where students were presented with a personalized Carhartt blue work coat.

“We have carefully selected our first class of students, all of whom are exceptionally intelligent and dedicated to learning the many facets of veterinary medicine,” said Gary Gackstetter, professor and director of the Veterinary Medicine Professional Program. “We are confident that they will all contribute to both animal health and public health across the Upper Midwest. These new blue coats are also a symbol of our trust in these students. “

The coats given to each student represent not only the hard work they have done up to this point in their training, but also the hard work that lies ahead of them as they continue their training in veterinary medicine.

“The Carhartt blue jacket symbolizes the hard work and dedication that the veterinary career program requires,” said Jessica Juarez, assistant professor and assistant director of PPVM. “It’s a way for our students to proudly represent SDSU and each other when they do internships and other jacket-wearing occasions.”

Each coat presented at the ceremony was sponsored by a local veterinarian, a symbol of the support these students can expect as they prepare for the veterinary profession.

“This is perhaps the most unique aspect of the SDSU blue coat ceremony,” said Russ Daly, professor, SDSU expansion veterinarian and state health veterinarian. “A South Dakota vet bought each coat, sometimes for a specific student he was looking after. Not only was this intended to help create or strengthen a bond between the veterinarian and student, it was also a symbol of the support these students can expect from the existing South Dakota veterinary community as they begin their careers . “

Veterinary students celebrated at the Blue Mantle opening ceremony include:

• Maria Aesoph of Orient, sponsored by Dr. John Bode of the Animal Health Center in Faulkton

• Mackenzie Bartles of Starbuck, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. David Zeman from Brookings

• Mariah Beckmann of Slayton, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Jennifer Stevens of Horizon Pet Care in Brandon

• Breanna Brown of Sabin, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Olivia Mellgren of the Webster Veterinary Clinic in Webster

• Jana Bruce-Wattier of Sioux Falls, sponsored by Dr. Corale Dorn from Dells Veterinary Services at Dell Rapids

• Garrett Drum of Faith, sponsored by Dr. Alice Harty from Milesville

• Alisha Hebl of St. Paul, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Dave Barz of Northwest Veterinary Supply in Parkston

• Kitana Honkola of Eveleth, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Greta Krafsur from Brookings

• Cassie Juberien of Nicollet, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. William Howard of the Howard Veterinary Clinic in Watertown

• Renae Kayser from Marion, sponsored by Dr. Eric Knock of the Prairie View Veterinary Clinic in Miller

• Marissa Keenan of South Bend, Indiana, sponsored by Dr. Heather Osnes from the Oahe Veterinary Clinic in Pierre

• Lauren Larson of Mitchell, sponsored by Dr. Heather Lerseth-Fliehs of the Groton Veterinary Clinic in Groton

• Hayley Leibel of Timber Lake, sponsored by Dr. Pat Prusha from the Oahe Veterinary Clinic in Mobridge and Dr. Corale Dorn from Dells Veterinary Service at Dell Rapids

• Danica Loll from Wahpeton, North Dakota, sponsored by Dr. Jane Hennings from Brookings

• Shannon McBride of Shevlin, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. Kay Miller from Fulton

• Laura Munger of Brookings, sponsored by Dr. Darcee Munster from Northern Plains Animal Health in Aberdeen

• Lacey Prescott from Franklin, sponsored by Dr. Mark Appelhof of the Clear Lake Veterinary Clinic in Clear Lake

• Ana Ruiz from Watertown, sponsored by Dr. Ben Wileman of Select Genetics in Willmar, Minnesota

• Lauren Skogland of New Richmond, Wisconsin, sponsored by Dr. Cynthia Franklin of the Animal Health Clinic in Yankton

• Courtney Timmer of Chaska, Minnesota, sponsored by Dr. James McKnight from Brookings

“We are very proud of our students and very excited to begin this new tradition that will be unique to the SDSU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine,” said John Killefer, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “We are so grateful for the generous support from our vets that has enabled us to start this blue-coat tradition.”

That fall, the first cohort of undergraduates began Veterinary School at SDSU through the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine in partnership with the University of Minnesota. Students who completed the required pre-veterinary medicine curriculum could apply for the professional program.

Students enrolled in the program complete the first two years of their DVM degree at SDSU, then transfer to the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine for their final two years.

To learn more about the program, contact Jessie Juarez, Assistant Director of the SDSU Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine at [email protected] or visit