A group of high-achieving graduate students in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine is able to pursue a career path in biomedical research thanks in part to the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation.

“In addition to tracking infectious disease outbreaks, I hope to teach future professional students when I finish this program, as a chance to give back to the profession that has provided me with so many opportunities,” said Dr. Jeff Alexander of Mechanicsville, Va., a Ph.D. candidate in the biomedical and veterinary sciences program. “Without the generosity of the Stamps Foundation, this would not be possible.”

Before enrolling in the Ph.D. program, Alexander had a long list of academic accomplishments. He completed a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the veterinary college in 1998 and later earned a Master of Public Health degree. Students who receive support from the Stamps Foundation grant, such as Alexander, must have high test scores and GPAs and demonstrate their active involvement in community service, leadership, and research.

In 2011, the Stamps Foundation committed approximately $500,000 to the veterinary college to support graduate students in biomedical and veterinary sciences. The gift, which was the foundation’s first to a graduate-level program, covers half of the cost for five graduate students over five years, including travel and research funding. The veterinary college matches the other half of the renewable scholarship.

This fall, the college received a second commitment of more than $573,000 to fund an additional cohort of students in the program. This brings the Stamps Foundation’s commitment to more than $1 million.

“We are very excited that the Stamps Foundation continues to invest in our students and our research program,” said Roger Avery, senior associate dean for research and graduate studies at the veterinary college. “We look forward to continuing to explore partnerships with organizations that share our goals.”

The students in the program have a wide range of research interests. Catharine Cowan of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., a second-year graduate student in the combined DVM and Ph.D. program, plans to pursue her interest in veterinary immunology.

“Support from the Stamps Foundation will help me follow my dream of having a career doing translational research, teaching and practicing veterinary medicine,” said Cowan, who completed a master’s degree in cancer cell molecular signaling before enrolling in the program. “The opportunity to meet individuals in different fields and travel to national meetings is critical for developing a well-rounded academic researcher, and the Stamps scholarship promotion of these opportunities will let me make the most of my graduate studies.”

Inspired by the impact that their university experiences had on their lives, venture capitalist and philanthropist E. Roe Stamps IV and his wife, Penny, have chosen to support exceptional students in their pursuit of higher education. The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation works with universities to create programs offering enriched educational experiences.

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