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John Pitts DVM - The man who started the thinking

John L. Pitts Aquatic Veterinary Education Awards Program

A program to assist veterinary students & new veterinary graduates

The John L. Pitts Aquatic Veterinary Education Awards Program is pleased to offer financial support each year to a limited number of veterinary students or recent graduates of recognized veterinary schools, allowing recipients to explore a career in aquatic veterinary medicine through a variety of aquatic veterinary educational activities.  Activities supported include attending aquatic veterinary workshops, giving presentations at meetings, participating in externships, internships, or engaging in small-scale research projects.

Click here to download a flyer that provides information about the 2019 awards.

Click here to learn more about the impacts this Program has had on aquatic veterinary medicine globally.


2018 Awardees

     Erika Brigante; Ross University (St. Kitts and Nevis)

     Alyssa Capuano; University of California-Davis (USA)

     Nicole Himebaugh; North Carolina State University (USA)

     Manuel Kunzel; Ludwigs Maximilians Universitat (Germany)

     Emily Munday; Washington State University (USA)

     Sunita Shrestha; Agriculture and Forestry University (Nepal)

     Patrawin Wanakumjorn; Kasetsart University (Thailand)

     Katherine Weber; University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA)

     Joshua Zlotnick; North Carolina State University (USA)


Award Intent & Criteria

Awards are intended to assist veterinary students and veterinarians who have graduated in the previous 2 years, to become involved with aquatic veterinary medicine. Upon completion of the activities, award recipients are required to submit a report of their activity for possible publication in The Aquatic Veterinarian (WAVMA's quarterly publication). 

Awards (generally between $250 and $1,000) are intended to support aquatic veterinary activities and educational opportunities, and may be used towards offsetting personal costs for:

  • Travel, accommodation, and/or registration at aquatic veterinary conferences, symposia, and other continuing education and professional development (CEPD) meetings, including on-line aquatic CEPD;
  • Travel, accommodation, and other activities directly associated with externships that expose veterinary students to clinical aquatic veterinary medicine;
  • Equipment and supplies needed for aquatic veterinary research projects not funded by other sources.


Program Objectives

  1. Introduce veterinary students or recent graduates to aquatic veterinary medicine.
  2. Encourage participation in the profession.
  3. Encourage the development of aquatic veterinary medicine in a global manner.
  4. Increase veterinary involvement in aquatic animal health in regions where it has traditionally been lacking.
  5. Select applicants who demonstrate a passion for the subject, either by previous experience or by overcoming difficulties to become involved.
  6. Promote individuals whose experiences will likely benefit the advancement of aquatic veterinary medicine in their country or region.


Program History

This Program was initiated in 2010 to celebrate the contributions of John L. Pitts, DVM (1941-2009) to advancing aquatic veterinary medicine, and his dedication to helping veterinary students and recent veterinary graduates navigate their way into a highly rewarding career. His service to the profession began in 1969 as a veterinary student, when he was instrumental in helped form the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA). John also helped in the formation of the National Association of State Aquaculture Coordinators, the Aquaculture and Seafood Advisory Committee of the AVMA, and worked tirelessly to shape and help pass the Minor Uses and Minor Species Act. To continue John's vision, a committee comprised of individuals representing private practice, academia, past recipients, WAVMA student members, and the Pitts family work to administer the Program. Awards of $250-$1,000 USD have been made to veterinary students and newly graduated veterinarians from around the world.

Click here to learn more about the impacts this Program has had on aquatic veterinary medicine globally.


Application Process

In addition to completing an ONLINE application, applicants must e-mail a resume or curriculum vitae. Applicants must also have someone who can attest to their interest and/or involvement in aquatic veterinary medicine and their potential to contribute to aquatic veterinary medicine submit a letter of recommendation directly to the Program. All application materials must be submitted to the Program Admin.

Click here to view a PDF example version of the application.

All application materials must be received by April 15, 2019. Incomplete applications and applications from previous recipients will not be considered.

For any questions or more information, please contact the Program Admin

Apply Now


John L. Pitts Scholars

2018: None selected due to quality of all awardees

2017: Shiva Prasad Bhusal, Agriculture and Forestry University

2016: Christina McKenzie, University of Saskatchewan

2015: Austin McConnell, Auburn University



The Program relies on contributions from WAVMA members, other organizations, sponsors, and others that support a well-trained aquatic veterinary workforce. Donations in any amount help increase the number of students we can help to find their place in aquatic veterinary medicine worldwide. Please check with your tax advisor to determine if your donation would be considered a tax-deductible expense.

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2010-2018 Donors

We gratefully acknowledge donations from the following for their support of this program:



Stephen Reichley, DVM, PhD, CertAqV
WAVMA Secretary

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