Class of 2022 Scholarship Recipients

Emily Lemoine

Emily Lemoine

Emily Lemoine

They say one of the key ways to discover your true passion in life is to remember what you loved doing as a child. Emily Hart Lemoine doubled down on that advice.

“I was the typical kid who loved animals, so being a veterinarian was always in the back of my mind. I also started running track really early,” Lemoine says.

After a year at Oklahoma Baptist University, Lemoine became a Cowgirl. She transferred to Oklahoma State University, which offered a pre-veterinary curriculum and a Big 12 track team.

“I’ve always classified myself as a hurdler,” Lemoine says. “I mainly ran the 60-meter hurdles during indoor track season and the 100 hurdles during outdoor. I also ran the 200 here and there.”

Lemoine’s sprinter speed stood out in individual events, and landed her on the 4×100-relay team.

“I got to run at the conference championships my senior year, and I scored. That was amazing; I actually cried,” Lemoine says. “I never thought I’d be able to score in individuals, because it is so competitive in the Big 12. Luckily, that put me on the 400 relay. We scored and I got a medal! Most people never get the chance to do something like that, so I was fortunate to be able to do it.”

She was again a winner, later in 2018, when she was selected to receive a Gentle Doctor scholarship at MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I was very surprised when I got the email this summer,” Lemoine says. “I was really excited. I was also kind of mystified — how did they pick me? I never applied for this or anything. Just, wow!”

Lemoine graduated from Santa Fe High School, in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, and enrolled at Oklahoma Baptist University.

“If you’re into medicine, it seems like most athletes become physical therapists; I feel like that’s a trend,” Lemoine says. “So, I kind of went down that road for a hot second, and peeked into the idea of becoming a physical therapist when I went to college.”

She majored in exercise science, but quickly figured out she did not enjoy it, and had little interest in pursuing human medicine.

“I had to take a step back and realize what I really wanted to do with my life, what my dream would be. I had great friends and mentors who said, ‘I think you need to ask yourself what you’ve always wanted to do your whole life.’ I think they knew I’d always wanted to be a veterinarian.”

There was a big hurdle, however, to running down that dream at Oklahoma Baptist.

“They didn’t have a pre-veterinary program or anything like that,” Lemoine said. “I talked to my advisor, who said, ‘We’ve had two people in the entire history of our university that went on to vet school.’

“It is hard to get into vet school, and I didn’t think they would have all the help I would need,” Lemoine recalls. “So, I decided to transfer to Oklahoma State University, because they have a vet school and a great pre-veterinary program. I was very fortunate to be able to continue my running career there, as well. I was ready to give it up if I had to, if that’s what I needed to do to become a veterinarian, but I got to do both.

She was as successful in the classroom at OSU as she was on the track. With graduation looming, Lemoine needed to decide on a veterinary program to get back on track with her veterinary aspirations.

“A friend suggested I apply to Missouri,” Lemoine says. “I remind her all the time that I really owe her for that. I came for a visit and absolutely loved it here. Everyone was so nice and so helpful. It felt much more like a family here than any other place I visited. It seemed like the people here — faculty, staff, classmates — were invested in my personal success.”

Lemoine says the CVM’s two-plus-two structure — two years of classroom instruction followed by two years of intensive clinical work — made a lot of sense to her.

“Receiving the Gentle Doctor scholarship is additional reinforcement that I made the right choice to come to Mizzou,” Lemoine says. “It’s similar to how winning a race validates your ability and rewards the time, effort and dedication you put into it, and validation can be its own reward.

“The financial support will have a big impact on my life,” Lemoine says. “It wasn’t easy for my family when my father died young. Now, I’m newly married, so the scholarship will be a big help during my time at the CVM and for years afterward.

“I still haven’t decided what I want to do after graduation,” Lemoine continues. “I’m really interested in research, but I’d also like to have the experience of directly caring for animals. After being in the CVM environment, I think that an academic career would be really fantastic, too. These great instructors get to do research, see clients, and guide students through this strenuous and challenging curriculum. That could be really rewarding, and certainly would never be boring. I have a few years to figure it out.”

Libby Martin

Libby Martin

Libby Martin

Libby Martin started job shadowing early. Growing up on a farm near California, Missouri, a small town about an hour southwest of Columbia, Martin has “very early memories of being on the farm, being around cattle, being all bundled up with tiny boots, bouncing around in the truck and watching grandpa feed the cows.

“In junior high, I worked at a vet clinic in Centertown, a little town between California and Jefferson City, with Greg Steck (DVM ’80), a mixed-animal doctor,” Martin says. “He let me do a lot: taking care of the kennel, assisting him in surgery and all sorts of hands-on things. That helped me decide this is what I want to do.”

As a first generation college student, at MU Martin majored in animal science with minors in business, entrepreneurship and agriculture leadership.

“In the first month of my freshman year, I got a job at Horton Animal Hospital and worked in a different kind of setting; less farm animal and more companion animal medicine,” Martin says. “I worked there as a part-time vet tech the entirety of my undergrad years. I got kind of a full-compass experience, and it just kept validating that, yes, this is what I want to do. That’s also when I got more interested in the business side of things. You know, if I own a practice, this is what I would do, this is what I would not do. Just figuring out how you would manage people and stuff like that.”

That business interest and experience has come in handy.

“I actually own my own business, which is a veterinary medical business,” Martin says. “I started Calving Technologies in 2015. Because of so much market research and engineering that had to go into the product, it has taken quite a while to get going, but we created a technology system in the form of a collar that cattle producers can put on their late-gestation cows, and it will track that process two to three weeks leading up to active labor. It transmits all of these biomedical parameters, through the Google Cloud, to the producer’s phone and software system. It alerts them when they should go check on their cows and make sure everything is OK. Then, if they need to call a vet, they can make that call and get them there on time.”

At recent Mizzou and UM System Entrepreneur Quest pitch competitions, Martin claimed first prize at both the university and system level, winning a total of $30,000 to advance work on an improved prototype to help cattle producers reduce calf mortality and increase profits.

Her future is full of options.

“I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I came here, and then you hear of all these other opportunities and it pivots the trajectory of your life,” Martin says. “I really love large animal-food animal medicine, so I would probably work out of a mixed practice. I don’t see myself doing just small animals. If the business keeps going well, maybe I’ll be the veterinarian of the company, if that is a stable career. I really like corporate medicine, so working for a food-animal company as their veterinarian would be interesting. Or, the government, the USDA or something like that. I always thought I’d own my own practice, but I think I’m looking for a bigger opportunity, to be involved on a larger scale, now that I’m actually in vet school and seeing all of the things that you can do.

“Being at the College of Veterinary Medicine is really cool, seeing what you’ve worked so hard for actually come to fruition, in terms of, ‘This is what I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life, and what I’m learning is really applicable,’” Martin says. “There are a lot of extra things to do outside of the classroom, too, like getting involved in VBMA (Veterinary Business Management Association) and the Nave Veterinary Group, and that’s been fun to do that extra stuff outside of class, but within the vet school.

“Putting the two together, education and the business, has been really helpful,” Martin says. “Networking with the speakers that come in, I’ve made really good connections that have helped me further the business even more, just through VBMA alone. That has really propelled my business within the last six months, just coming here and being involved in that; it’s been really helpful.”

A college education, not to mention studies at a graduate professional program, was not a guarantee.

“In high school, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to come to college, because I was on my own, as far as paying for it,” Martin recalls. “In my junior year and throughout senior year, I started filling out a ridiculous amount of scholarship applications. I started working as soon as I was legally old enough to do that, and started saving money for college, because I knew my family would not be able to pay for it. That got me through undergrad. Then, I started that process over again my senior year of college, looking for scholarships for vet school, trying to figure out where to go. People always say, ‘Don’t expect to get anything,’ so I adopted that mentality, but my goal was still to put myself through school and minimize loans, so I applied.

“I was shocked when I got the notification about the scholarship,” Martin says. “I was like, ‘They picked me?’ I was so humbled. The Gentle Doctor scholarship is not a small scholarship; it is substantial. It makes a huge dent, in the first year especially. Honestly, it made going to vet school feasible. It made it possible to go through with it. I was very thankful.

“The CVM makes you feel so supported,” Martin continues. “For my business pitch at the entrepreneurship event, so many people from the vet school — professors, staff, classmates — were emailing me, wishing me good luck and even showing up for the pitch. I was actually crying when I looked out and saw that I had the biggest group of support there. I just felt really grateful.

“It’s just the best feeling, knowing I made the right decision to come here,” Martin says. “The scholarship, things like the people who showed up at the pitch competition, getting the first-year experiences like going to SAVMA Symposium and being involved with VBMA.  It’s so humbling, and makes me feel so grateful, for everything that comes from being at the Mizzou CVM. There’s no better place to be.”