Georgia Veterinary Scholars Program

Embark on a journey of discovery to the nexus of animal and human health

The Georgia Veterinary Scholars Program (GVSP) provides biomedical research opportunities for veterinary students. It is designed to enhance awareness of the importance of research in veterinary medicine and to encourage promising veterinary students to enter a career in biomedical research or advanced studies. This three-month program spans from May to the beginning of August each year.

It is co-sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim (as part of the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program) and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research Infrastructure Programs. Since establishing the program in 1995, we have provided research experiences to more than 325 veterinary students from schools across the U.S., as well as several international schools.

About the program

How it works

GVSP scholars engage in research projects under the mentorship of research faculty from mid-May to the first week of August. Participating scholars attend seminars covering a variety of topics related to biomedical research and take part in site visits to regional research facilities, such as the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scholars attend informal dinner gatherings at the homes of faculty members during the Summer Science journal club series where they discuss current topics in the scientific literature. The GVS program encourages close interactions with faculty from across UGA to enhance understanding of the responsibilities and opportunities of a research career. At the end of the summer, the scholars present their research at the National Veterinary Scholar Program Symposium.

(View all key dates & activities)

Eligibility

Applicants must be veterinary students who have completed their first or second year of a veterinary curriculum. Veterinary students who have not completed their bachelor’s degree, possess an MS or PhD, or who are currently enrolled in a graduate program should contact program administrators to discuss eligibility.

Please note that this program is not limited to UGA students. Students from all other veterinary schools are welcome to attend the program. We typically have at least two to four scholars from other schools yearly, including international students.

The program is merit based, accepting the best candidates regardless of where they come from.

How to apply

Applications are submitted through our online Scholar Application form. Students are encouraged to clearly state in their application why they are interested in this type of program, their future career goals, and any other pertinent information that may be beneficial in this competitive process. Two references are also required. One must be from a UGA CVM professor (or a professor from the applicant’s veterinary school). Applications are due by February 1.

Program mentors

Students will be matched with a mentor and research project after they are admitted into the program. Faculty interested in serving as a mentor in this program should complete the Georgia Veterinary Scholars Program Mentor Research Project Abstract application. Multiple abstracts may be created, but each mentor will be matched with only one scholar. Abstracts are due by February 7.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

The program encompasses twelve weeks from mid May to early August. However, if a scholar must miss a week of the program due to prior obligations, the scholar can start the program a week early or end it a week late if both scholar and mentor agree. Certain dates are firm and cannot be missed. These are Orientation Week, Scholar Research Day, and the National Veterinary Scholar Symposium.

What are the working hours?

Each scholar must decide this with his/her mentor. This is a good question to ask during the mentor selection process. The stipend is calculated based on a 40-hour week. While some of the research projects can be completed in a traditional 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. workday, others involve weekend and evening work.

How do the scholars choose their research project?

After the scholars are selected, they will be given access on eLC to abstracts from all the prospective mentors. The scholars read the abstracts and meet with any mentors offering projects in which they are interested. There will be a gathering where mentors will give a short presentation on their research. We also recommend that each scholar talk with others who have worked in that mentor’s lab (previous scholars, graduate students, etc.) and look at the mentor’s website; past students can often provide valuable information about the type of learning environment and the relationship the scholar can expect with the prospective mentor. The scholar then ranks their top five choices of projects and turns it into the Office of Research and Graduate Affairs. A match is carried out, and scholars and mentors are notified of the results.

If two scholars list the same first choice, the higher ranked applicant will get their first choice, and the next will get their next choice, depending on what mentors are still available.

Are scholars required to attend program meetings and site visits?

Scholars are required to attend the program meetings and strongly encouraged to attend site visits. If a scholar cannot make it to a site visit, they need to contact the directors at least one week in advance with an acceptable excuse. Mentors are welcome at both program meetings and site visits as well. The program meetings take place every other week and last for one hour to allow scholars to compare notes, provide progress reports and get updated on program housekeeping issues. Meeting absences or lateness should be arranged with the directors ahead of time (at least 1 full day in advance of the seminar).

Are scholars required to present their research?

Scholars are required to present their research at the Scholar Research Day. In addition, each scholar is required to attend and present a poster at the National Boehringer Ingelheim-NIH Veterinary Scholar Program Symposium. Travel expenses to attend the Symposium will be covered by the program. Scholars will pay for their hotel rooms and be reimbursed by the Georgia Veterinary Scholar Program once we have your completed program evaluation, exit letter, and submitted original receipts.

How are scholars paid?

Boehringer Ingelheim and NIH scholars are paid a monthly stipend. Checks are distributed by the Office of Research and Graduate Affairs. The first check is usually disbursed in mid-May. Taxes are not withheld from these checks and the individual will be responsible for paying taxes. Individual labs are not responsible for providing scholar salary during the program. Please note that housing is not included in the stipend and will be the responsibility of the scholar.

Do you cover travel expenses for students from other schools?

Currently we do not offer travel expenses stipends.

Who is responsible for training the scholars in hazardous materials and lab safety?

It is the responsibility of the mentor to ensure that the scholar receives their hazardous material and lab safety training before starting work. Since every lab is different and has different hazardous materials, it is best that the scholars get their training from people who are trained to work in that laboratory.