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UGA College of Veterinary Medicine presents Phi Zeta honors to faculty and students

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine presents Phi Zeta honors to faculty and students

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine awarded exceptional faculty and students with honors for excellence in teaching, research and service at its annual Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society Induction Ceremony held April 9.

“The Phi Zeta awards are among the most prestigious honors an academic veterinary professional or student can receive from a school or college of veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Paige Carmichael, associate dean for academic affairs.

Faculty recognized for outstanding service included Dr. Jeremiah T. Saliki, Dr. Amie Koenig, Dr. Benjamin M. Brainard and Dr. Susan Sanchez.

Saliki, who is a professor in the department of infectious diseases and heads up the Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, received the Charles Dobbins Award for Excellence in Service. He was honored for the service improvements he has made since taking the helm of the ADVL or the “D-Lab” in late 2007, including boosting the lab’s efficiency by adding on-line reporting of test results and invoicing.

Koenig and Brainard won the Outstanding Hospital Service Award for their efforts to establish an Emergency/Critical Care Unit at the Teaching Hospital. Both faculty members are assistant professors in the department of small animal medicine and surgery, and both are double-board certified: Brainard in anesthesia and critical care, and Koenig in internal medicine and critical care.

Sanchez, a professor in the department of infectious diseases, was recognized for the microbiology diagnostic services she has developed for the AVDL, including those for aquatic animals and laboratory animals. The improvements she’s made have helped the lab provide faster results and boost revenues.

Research awards were presented to Dr. Steve Budsberg, Dr. Shiyou Chen and Dr. Simon Platt.

Budsberg received the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence for his most recent work in gait mechanics and pain management of osteoarthritis. A professor in the department of small animal medicine and surgery, he has been a leader in orthopedic research in veterinary medicine for two decades.

Chen received the John M. Bowen Award for Excellence in Animal/Biomedical Research for his work to find new therapies to treat coronary disease. Chen has been awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health for direct costs totaling more than $1 million and has another NIH proposal pending. An assistant professor in the department of physiology and pharmacology, Chen also has been awarded grants from the American Heart Association.

Platt, a neurologist, was presented with the Clinical Research Award in recognition for the work he is doing on brain tumors in canines. Platt’s work may result in the altering of treatment protocols for humans who suffer from brain tumors. He is an associate professor in the department of small animal medicine and surgery.

The Morrow B. Thompson Award, which is typically awarded to a resident, was presented this year instead to senior veterinary student Sara Hashway in recognition of her exceptional work completed toward her D.V.M. degree to be awarded at graduation on May 1. Sponsored by Dr. Dolores Kunze, the Thompson Award is presented to a senior student or resident who excels in veterinary clinical pathology. The namesake of the award received his D.V.M. degree from UGA in 1976.

Catherine Ray was recognized as the Outstanding Sophomore Student for having the highest cumulative grade point average in the second-year class; her GPA is 4.0.As part of her award, Ray will serve as vice president on the Phi Zeta Committee for one year.

Student Leadership, Service and Outreach Awards were given to Kristen Kozar, Brandon Pinson, Brad Speed and Andrew Verdin, all representing the class of 2010; David Boardman, Matt Faulkner, Phil Good and Mason Savage, from the class of 2011; Jennifer Bonovich, Joshua Cook, Shana Gross, Jeremy Hansford, Jessica Murdock and Amy Yanke, from the class of 2012; Cheryl Coplon, Angela Gray, Stephanie Pullin and Trista Welsh, from the class of 2013.

New inductees into the Phi Zeta Honorary Society included Charles Aldridge, Jessica Casto, Kay Clarke, Sarah Collette, Erica Freihaut, Matthew Groover, Denise Henry, Timothy Jackson, Stephanie Kleine, Katherine McMillan, Kristen Moore, Meredith Pavlovsky, Alan Tucker and Amelia G. White, from the class of 2010; Sophie Aschenbroich, David Boardman, Laura Bryan, Sara Cato, Elijah Edmondson, Matthew Faulkner, Gina Marguriet, Sarah Nelson, Daniel Regan and Mason Savage, from the class of 2011; and graduate students/residents Elizabeth Driskell, Rick Gerhold, David Marancik, Sabrina McGraw, Raquel Rech, Janildo Reis and Leonardo Susta.

The Phi Zeta Veterinary Honor Society was formally established in 1929 in Detroit, Mich., for the advancement of the veterinary profession, for higher educational requirements and for high scholarship. Phi Zeta recognizes and promotes scholarship and research in matters pertaining to the welfare and diseases of animals.

There are 27 chapters of Phi Zeta throughout the U.S. The Xi chapter of Phi Zeta was established in 1959 at the University of Georgia.

The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, to conducting research related to animal diseases, and to providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock, and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share.The college enrolls 102 students each fall out of more than 550 who apply. For more information, see

For images of Phi Zeta honorees, see