The Pride Veterinary Medical Community (PrideVMC) is excited to announce the recipients of two new student awards, the PrideVMC Student Diversity Bonus Award and the PrideVMC Student Intersectionality Award. Both awards are sponsored by Merck Animal Health. Jessica Rutten and Kaitlin Brown are the award winners because of their commitment to diversity and inclusion, the professionalism of their award applications, and the creativity and innovation evident in their application assays. Each award recipient will receive a four thousand dollar scholarship on behalf of Merck Animal Health.

The PrideVMC Student Diversity Bonus Award

Award Recipient: Jessica Rutten

jessica rutten
Award winner Jessica Rutten, Colorado State University Veterinary Student

Scott E. Page is a professor at Michigan State University and author of many articles and books including The Diversity Bonus.  According to Page’s research 1 + 1 can actually equal 3, but only when the two 1s are different.  He emphasizes the benefits of all types of diversity, including cognitive diversity.  These benefits include better decision making, multi-dimensional decision making, increased creativity, less turnover, and the ability to capture more of the market by having more perspectives represented in all aspects of the business. Not only do teams win, but diverse teams beat homogeneous teams time and time again. Award winner Jessica Rutten shares, “This award is a symbol of recognition and celebration of LGBT+ pride that I couldn’t have imagined existed as a young person. Receiving this award has me feeling both honored and proud to be an active participant at the intersection of veterinary medicine and the LGBT+ community.”

The PrideVMC Student Intersectionality Award

Award Recipient: Kaitlin Brown

Award winner Kaitlin Brown, Cornell University Veterinary Student

Kimberlé Crenshaw defined the term intersectionality to help us acknowledge and understand the compounding effects of oppression.  Intersectionality is a lens through which we view the world, it is “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage”.  When the oppression that results from these differences is acknowledged we can then work collaboratively to stop discrimination and, in its place, leverage our differences for the benefit of all.  Award winner Kaitlin Brown shares, “Winning this award means so much to me and will allow me to pay for room and board for the upcoming school year. Additionally, thank you so much to Pride VMC for sponsoring such a scholarship that promotes diversity and intersectionality within the veterinary community.”

PrideVMC Board President Dr. Dane Whitaker shares, “Congratulations to Kaitlin and Jessica and thank you to Merck Animal Health for their investment in diversity and inclusion throughout the veterinary profession and for providing the funding that made these awards possible.”

“We are very proud to play a role in promoting diversity within the veterinary community,” said Scott Bormann, Senior Vice President, North America, Merck Animal Health. “The profession is only as strong and diverse as its members, and these two recipients showcase the profession’s strength, innovation and bright future.”

To learn more about PrideVMC please email or visit us at


About Pride Veterinary Medical Community

The mission of the Pride Veterinary Medical Community (PrideVMC) is to create a better world for the LGBTQ+ veterinary community by striving to foster acceptance and inclusivity for people of all sexual orientation, gender identities and gender presentations within the veterinary medical profession and community. We fight discrimination, build collaborative networks and support LGBTQ+ veterinary students through mentorship and scholarship programs. For more information please visit us at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter at @PrideVMC.

About Merck Animal Health

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of digitally connected identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter at @MerckAH.

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