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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 2020 awards.

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


2020 Awardees

     Erica Chang; University of California-Davis (USA)

     Sloan Massie; University College Dublin (Ireland)

     Dr. Mohammed Modibbo; University of Maiduguri (Nigeria)

     Charlene Morotti; The Ohio State University (USA)

     Sarah Nelson; University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA)

     Jessira Sosa; National University of San Marcos (Peru)


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. Previous recipients of the award are ineligible to apply. 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

Applications are currently open and due by April 1, 2020. To go to the online application form, click here

An example application form with the same essay questions as the online application form can be downloaded by clicking here


John L. Pitts Scholars

2019: None selected due to quality of all awardees

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


WAVMA Administrators

Mailing Address

25871 Duran Ave
Conifer, CO 80433
United States