The Illinois Equine Foundation, a tax-exempt subsidiary of Horsemen's Council of Illinois, has awarded two $1,000 educational scholarships.
The 15th annual Ruby Holmquist Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Brandi Burton of Mount Prospect. Ben Bergstrom of Rockton earned the 6th annual Dean Scoggins Memorial Veterinary Scholarship. Both awards are intended to further the students' equine education.
Brandi, youngest of six siblings, is the daughter of Roger and Carolyn Burton, and is a freshman at the University of Illinois. She has been riding for 14 years, showing on the Northern Illinois Hunter Jumper Association circuit for the last six years, and now competes on the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association with the U. of I. team.
"Isn't it every little girl's dream to be a doctor, school teacher, or veterinarian?" Brandi asks. "Ever since I can remember I knew I wanted to be a vet."
Because Brandi received high marks in high school advanced placement tests, she plans on graduating a semester early (December 2014), and then seeking a full-time internship in a vet clinic, hopefully an equine hospital.
Ben's parents are a self-employed construction worker and a school teacher. Ben attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in animal sciences and minoring in chemistry, before beginning studies at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an undergraduate, Ben volunteered at the University Horse Farm, working in the breeding barn, where he assisted in stallion semen collection and analysis and participated in "foal watch," assisting in mares' foaling.
Since entering veterinary school, Ben has worked with Dr. Jonathan Foreman, investigating the effects of various analgesics in horses. This past summer, Ben participated in the National Veterinary Scholars Program funded by Merial. Under Dr. Foreman's supervision, he led his own study on daily tCO2 concentrations in horses, and then presented his project at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium in Orlando.
Ben is a student member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. He plans to enter an internship and then private equine practice upon graduation. He states enthusiastically that "Veterinary school has been a fantastic experience for me and I cannot wait to begin my career as an equine veterinarian."
The Holmquist scholarship is established in memory of Ruby Holmquist, dedicated horsewoman, loyal Horsemen's Council of Illinois director and an inspiration to all who knew her. The scholarship is restricted to Illinois residents for assisting in the pursuit of or advancement in a horse-related career.
The Scoggins scholarship was initiated in 2007 to honor the memory of the late Dr. R. Dean Scoggins, DVM, a dedicated horseman in addition to being a skilled veterinary practitioner and faculty member at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. He spent a great deal of time promoting the strength and integrity of the horse industry through his educational efforts, teaching both on-campus and off-campus as an Illinois State Specialist with UI Extension.