Dr. Martha Larson of Blacksburg, Va., a professor of radiology at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has received the 2013 Zoetis Animal Health Distinguished Teaching Award.

The award recognizes an educator at the veterinary college with a strong record of teaching excellence. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges will consider Larson and other award winners at each of the veterinary schools in the U.S. and Caribbean for a national distinguished teaching award presented by Zoetis, formerly known as Pfizer Animal Health.

Larson, a faculty member in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, is known as a compassionate and effective instructor at the veterinary college.

“Dr. Larson’s effectiveness in teaching is evident by the performance of the students in their senior year and from graduates from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine who are now practicing veterinarians,” wrote Dr. Greg Daniel, head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, in Larson’s nomination letter. “In my position, I am often meeting with our alumni in various venues. In the majority of these events, the former students usually ask about Dr. Larson and then follow up with a positive comment about her. All students have their favorite instructor and for many of our graduates, that person is Dr. Larson.”

Since joining the Virginia Tech faculty in the fall of 1986, Larson has taught 14 courses and served as a course leader in three. She also serves as section chief of radiology and anesthesia. According to Daniel, she has taught most aspects of veterinary radiology within the college’s curriculum and has consistently received high student evaluation scores.

One student described Larson as an “excellent professor” in a course evaluation. “You can tell that she truly cares and wants you to learn,” the student wrote. “She made the material clear to us and was a great lecturer.”

“Dr. Larson is very friendly, professional, and approachable,” wrote another student in an evaluation. “Her kindness made for a pleasant learning environment.”

During her tenure at Virginia Tech, Larson also received the college’s Teaching Excellence Award in 1989-1990 and the Merck Agvet Award for Creativity in Teaching in 1994 and 1995. Following a college tradition for the graduating class to recognize a favorite veterinary educator at graduation, the senior classes of 1996 and 2003 invited Larson to speak at their commencement ceremonies. The classes of 2001 and 2005 also nominated Larson for the Carl J. Norden Distinguished Teaching Award.

Larson completed undergraduate degrees in wildlife biology from the University of Montana and biology from the University of Georgia. She completed both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and a master’s degree from The Ohio State University. Larson is board-certified in radiology from the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Her research interests are pancreatitis, imaging of pulmonary disease, and ultrasound imaging.

Written by Michael Sutphin.

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