Shavonne Corbet recently won a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Frontiers for Veterinary Medicine Fellowship. This competitive, nationwide fellowship program awards summer research grants to a select group of veterinary students based on project proposals that seek innovative methods to advance veterinary medicine and promote the humane treatment of animals. This summer, Shavonne went to Puerto Rico to collect carapace (shell) samples from wild green sea turtles and analyze the samples for mercury, a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and immunosuppressive agent. The goal of her project is to correlate the amount of mercury accumulated by the turtles with the presence of fibropapillomatosis, a debilitating disease characterized by skin tumors that limit the turtle’s ability to see, swim, eat or breathe.
Peachtree City, Georgia
McIntosh High School
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
B.S.A., Biological Sciences, University of Georgia
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I have won the Berner Scholarship, a highly selective scholarship awarded to two UGA veterinary students this year based on our “potential for scholastic achievement, financial need and demonstrated quality of leadership.” I also have the William and Florence McFarlane Scholarship and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Frontiers for Veterinary Medicine Fellowship which allowed me to study wild green sea turtles this summer in Puerto Rico.
I am also on the Honors and Awards Committee at the vet college. I am the secretary of the Student Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, treasurer of the Student Association for Global Awareness, treasurer of the Student Chapter of the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association, and I am an active member of the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, which is the largest national organization that promotes and supports the growth of the entire veterinary profession.
I work part-time providing nursing care for patients at UGA’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in the Small Animal Intensive Care Unit and giving college and hospital tours. I also volunteer with the Wildlife Treatment Crew, performing triage and medical care for sick and injured wildlife brought to the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Family Ties to UGA:
My parents own their own business in Peachtree City, Georgia, and my younger sister just graduated from UGA with a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media; they have taught me the value of hard work and always doing my best. My partner just earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Science and is currently a post-doctoral student in Ecology at UGA. She inspires me to work towards goals that are personally meaningful rather than financially rewarding. My furry children, Pancake and Whiskey (the dogs) and Radclyffe and Macy Gray (the cats) remind me everyday of what’s most important in life.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…UGA has been named the best veterinary school for the money in the United States, making this school very appealing to me as a financially independent student. Attending UGA has become particularly advantageous to my career due to the strength of our international veterinary medicine program, thanks to Dr. Corrie Brown. Moreover, the progressive, close-knit community of Athens has become very close to my heart over the past eight years, and its proximity to Atlanta allows me to remain close to my family.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
I love enjoying an ice cream cone from the Creamery and walking over to the pond and garden between Ecology and Forestry. I also enjoy the fabulous speakers and entertainers brought to campus by the University Union, including Howard Zinn, Jello Biafra, Bill Cosby, Indigo Girls and Dar Williams.
When I have free time, I like…
Depending on the weather, I like surfing, snowboarding, rollerblading, skateboarding and a sport we call “Extreme Dog Walking” which involves walking the dogs on the shoals at Ben Burton Park and Watson’s Mill State Park and swimming from rock to rock; this has turned out to be a much better workout than walking on the path alongside the river.
The craziest thing I've done is…
Last summer, my friends convinced me to jump out of a perfectly good airplane at Skydive Monroe. Although I did not conquer my fear of falling like I had hoped, the view was spectacular, and I have a very entertaining video for a souvenir.
My favorite place to study is…
If I really have to study, it is in my backyard with my dogs because it’s peaceful, and we love any time we can spend together. If I don’t really have to study, I like to sit outside of Blue Sky Coffee because it’s the best spot downtown for people-watching and meeting interesting folks.
My favorite professor is…
As an undergraduate student, I loved Dr. Mark Compton’s Avian Physiology class. His offbeat, enthusiastic teaching style and his excellent laboratory exercises tremendously helped me to learn difficult concepts in physiology and immunology. I still use his lecture notes when studying physiology in my veterinary school classes. Among the many wonderful vet school professors I have had so far, I think that every student who has been taught physiology and pharmacology by Dr. Scott Brown would say that he is a truly brilliant individual and a very gifted professor. I think we all consider ourselves lucky to have been taught by him.
If money was not a consideration, I would love to…
…buy a large tract of land and open a wildlife rehabilitation center and educational facility focused on teaching children and adults about the fascinating world of biology and the importance of conserving natural resources.
After graduation, I plan to…
…apply for a small animal veterinary internship and will probably pursue an exotic/zoo animal medicine residency after that. My ultimate career goals at this point are to work internationally on problems in conservation medicine and to teach at a veterinary school, although I would still like to practice small animal medicine in some capacity.