Gifts in Action

Your Gifts Tell the Story


Behind every gift to WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine is a story. The detection of a new disease helps save lives. A scholarship makes school more affordable. A beloved animal's life is saved from cancer. From everyone at the college, you have our sincere gratitude for your generous support.


  • A WSU Veterinary Alumna Helps a Student Travel to Tanzania


    Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04

    Cassie Eakins (’16 DVM) spent five weeks in Tanzania during the fall of 2015

    A WSU Veterinary Alumna Helps a Student Travel to Tanzania

    As they entered a village in Tanzania, Cassie Eakins (’16 DVM) and members of the rabies team announced over a loudspeaker that there would be a rabies vaccine clinic coming to town the next day. At another village, they tossed posters from their vehicle. Once the team started to drive away, the village children gathered them up to be posted. The next day a crowd was lined up to have their dogs vaccinated. People traveled many miles by bike or motorcycle, but most walked, says Eakins. Each owner received a rabies vaccination certificate.

    “We sometimes vaccinated 300 dogs in a day,” says Eakins, a WSU veterinary student who spent five weeks in Tanzania as part of the Global Animal Health Certificate program. “They understand really well the danger of rabies.”

    Rabies is the deadliest zoonotic disease on the planet. Each year more than 59,000 people die from rabies worldwide and about half of those deaths are children under the age of 16. Globally, more than 99% of human rabies deaths are caused by dog bites—almost all in Africa and Asia. The WSU Rabies Vaccination Team and its partners from the Serengeti Health Initiative visit 180 villages in seven districts adjacent to the Serengeti National Park. The result of these efforts is that the vaccination zone is now rabies free. Eakins says, one of the reasons it is so effective is because the team members are from Tanzania so they understand the culture and the people.

    “Being fully exposed to the culture was helpful for me because it is a way to understand people that much better,” says Eakins. “And if you know the people better then you are able to make a difference.”

    You can learn about it in textbooks, but it is no replacement for hands-on experience.” Cassie Eakins (’16 DVM)

    WSU alumna Susan Bradish (’97 DVM) had a similar experience after spending four weeks in India while she was earning her veterinary degree at WSU. She started the Susan Bradish Travel Grant in 2010 because she recognized the need for veterinary expertise in developing nations and she wanted other students to gain an understanding of the daily challenges people face in most of the world.

    “The death of a single animal can mean the difference between living and dying,” says Bradish. The one and only water buffalo owned by a family she met in India died while giving birth. The calf also died. The local veterinarian explained to Bradish, a young veterinary student at the time, that this loss would likely mean starvation for some of the 20 extended family members. “That was a sobering and profound realization,” she says.

    While Eakins was in Tanzania, she also had the opportunity to work with Allen School Clinical Assistant Professor, Felix Lankester, to design her own research project. She wondered if there was a correlation between the number of parasites a dog has, such as ticks, fleas, or lice, and the health of the dog. Eakins is still working on the results, but she says collecting data in the field is not something she would have been able to do had she not had this opportunity. For Eakins, receiving the Bradish travel grant helped defray some of the costs and made the trip possible.

    “You can learn about it in textbooks, but it is no replacement for hands-on experience,” says Eakins. “I want to use the resources I have to help other people.”

    For more information about the WSU Rabies Vaccination Program visit go.vetmed.wsu.edu/Rabies.




  • Floricel Gonzalez - Scholarship Helps Make Dreams a Reality


    Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04


    Floricel Gonzalez - Gifts in Action

    Floricel Gonzalez

    In the spring of 2015, Floricel Gonzalez (’16 BS) was attending the School of Molecular Biosciences scholarship awards ceremony holding a letter in her hand. She knew she’d received a scholarship, but didn’t yet know which one. Carefully opening the letter, she read the name: The Elizabeth R. Hall Endowment Scholarship*.

    “My jaw dropped,” says Gonzalez. The prestigious award, given to promising students in medical microbiology, is $4,000. “It was a breath of fresh air that I don’t have to worry about tuition or books for my last year.”

    Gonzalez, the daughter of migrant farm workers, grew up in Selah, Washington. Her parents immigrated in 1999 from Zacatecas, Mexico to the Yakima Valley in Washington State when Gonzalez was 4 years old. They worked hard, so that she and her five brothers and sisters could have more career opportunities.

    “My parents’ dream of a better future instilled in me a passion for higher education,” says Gonzalez. “I did not know how I was going to fund my education, but thanks to various scholarships, such as this one, I have been able to make my dreams a reality.”

    When she first came to Pullman on a college visit, Gonzalez says “I fell in love with the atmosphere of WSU.” At the time, her plan was to become a veterinarian, so WSU also lined up nicely with her career and academic goals. But then things took an unexpected turn.

    “I got involved in research and that changed everything,” says Gonzalez. “I couldn’t imagine not working in a lab.”

    It is an honor to have her name associated with mine.” Floricel Gonzalez (’16 BS), who received the prestigious Elizabeth R. Hall Endowment Scholarship.

    She also found many mentors who encouraged her along the way, including Bill Davis, associate dean of undergraduate education in the School of Molecular Biosciences and her academic advisor. Dr. Davis suggested she apply for a 10-week summer research program with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    “I didn’t think I was good enough or would be able to compete,” she says. Then Davis gave her a few encouraging words. “He thought I was more than qualified.” She was accepted to the program and spent the summer of 2015 working in an infectious disease laboratory at Yale University where she studied a protein in the salivary glands of a mosquito that may contain an immunity property that could be used in future malaria vaccines.

    Gonzalez, who is double majoring in microbiology and English, decided to continue with English as a major because solid writing skills are important for publishing research articles and applying for grants. The major, she believes, gives her an advantage over other science students in communicating science. She will graduate in 2016 and is already applying to doctoral programs. Her goal is to work as a research scientist at a university or health organization, such as the National Institutes of Health.

    “I really love viruses,” she says. But Gonzalez is not limiting her options; she says she is also interested in bacterial pathogens. Ultimately, she wants to do work that will translate into human medicine and better human health. “My goal is to work at a public health research facility or academic institution, where I will use my findings to combat disease.”

    After receiving the scholarship, she learned more about Elizabeth Hall’s career and her time at WSU, which made a big impact on Gonzalez. “I am honored to uphold her legacy and providing a positive perspective on what she’s left at WSU,” says Gonzalez. “It is an honor to have her name associated with mine.”

     

    Elizabeth Hall
    *Elizabeth Hall’s (1914-2001) many friends, colleagues, and former students established the Elizabeth R. Hall Endowment Scholarship in 1972 as a memorial to her. A member of the WSU faculty from 1944 to 1976, she was a researcher, instructor, and beloved mentor in bacteriology and public health for 32 years.