PetSmart Charities Steve Marton Veterinary Scholarship Reduces Crushing Student Debt

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“We are helping create a path for young veterinarians to follow their heart’s work,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “So many come into veterinary medicine out of a desire to help animals in need, but overwhelming student debt forces them into careers focused on providing higher-end care. Awarding these scholarships is an important contribution we make to improve access to veterinary care for all — and help ensure students driven to do this work are able to.”

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), veterinary student debt is outpacing new graduate salaries by 4.5 times. This crushing student debt is among the factors many graduates turn to higher-paying jobs, creating an unsustainable shortage of lower-cost providers. Some 50 million pets in the US already lack access to basic care, and under-resourced communities are particularly at risk. Barriers to care including a lack of diverse providers, transportation or finances have created a near-crisis in the vet care system. Veterinary practitioners are struggling to keep pace with demand and face not only finance, but mental health challenges.

Paige Palomakia fourth-year veterinary student at the University of Minnesota was awarded the Steve Marton Scholarship in 2021/2022. She’s also been dedicated to VeTouch (Veterinary Treatment & Outreach for Urban Community Health), the student-run free monthly clinic that provides wellness services in the twin cities area for pets of lower-income families.

“I believe accessible veterinary care is a public health issue, especially since the barriers people face to accessing quality vet care are likely the same barriers they face to receive quality health care for themselves,” said Palomaki.

Eligibility and Application Details:

Current 2nd or 3rd year veterinary students attending a college of veterinary medicine in the US and in good standing may apply for the scholarship.

To be considered, applicants must:

  • Submit two (2) letters of recommendation – one from a licensed veterinarian and another from a social worker, community leader or other individual working in a community of need.
  • Maintain at least a 2.5 GPA.
  • Submit most recent unofficial transcript.

Helpful tips when applying:

  • When applying through the portal, applicants will be able to search for and select the school they attend.
  • Applicants must use the legal name of the school in order to find the record.
  • Once a school is selected, applicants should register using their name and email address.
  • No action will be needed by the school.

Scholarship applications are open through March 22, 2022. For more information or to apply visit:

PetSmart Charities. Is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the US and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps nearly 600,000 pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. Our grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crisis with access to food, shelter and emergency relief. Each year, millions of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities directly at, while shopping at, and by using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in NorthAmericagranting more than $500 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501 (c) (3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the past 17 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of rated charities. To learn more visit

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SOURCE PetSmart Charities