CVMA | CVMA Student Leadership Award

CVMA Student Leadership Award

The CVMA Student Leadership Award, instituted in 1966, consists of a plaque and a monetary award presented annually to a 3rd-year veterinary student at each of the Canadian veterinary colleges. The recipient is selected by his/her classmates based on their leadership and achievement in student affairs. 

Meet the 2020 CVMA Student Leadership Award recipients:

Kelly Yoo is a 4th-year student at the Atlantic Veterinary College. She was born in South Korea and moved to Moncton, New Brunswick at age 12. Kelly enjoys singing, hot yoga, outdoor activity, arts and crafts, and learning how to play guitar.

After experiencing a pre-post-grad crisis, Kelly realized she wanted to pursue a career working with people, animals and science. Unlike many of her friends who knew becoming a vet was their goal, Kelly did not pursue veterinary medicine until she was in the 4th year of her undergraduate program.

Upon graduation, Kelly plans to return to New Brunswick and work at a local veterinary hospital and continue with small animal general practice. She looks forward to making small differences each day and her ultimate goal in life is to become competent in veterinary medical services and become a financially stable veterinarian who can volunteer to help families in a community by offering otherwise inaccessible veterinary care.


Antoine Levasseur is a 4th-year student at the Université de Montréal — Faculté de médecine vétérinaire in Saint-Hyacinthe. Since starting university, Antoine has been actively involved in the student movement on campus. He was responsible for the finances of the student association for the past 3 years and most recently became president of the same association. He organized new activities for student life on campus, including a back-to-winter evening. While continuing his veterinary studies and managing his student involvement, he completed a Master’s in Veterinary Science.


Meredith Garcia is a 4th-year student at the University of Guelph — Ontario Veterinary College. Meredith was born in the Philippines, immigrated to Canada shortly after, and has loved animals since she and her dad rescued an injured baby bird when she was age 3.

Meredith completed her undergraduate degree in Bio-Medical Science at the University of Guelph. While completing her studies, Meredith has been a CVMA ambassador, is currently a member of the Central Veterinary Student Association (CVSA), the senior social co-ordinator for the professional veterinary fraternity Omega Tau Sigma, a senior planner for the annual OTS Dog Jog, and a proud member of the Global Vets program. Meredith is still undecided about how she wants to make an impact in the veterinary world, but she knows a few things for sure: she loves being involved in community outreach initiatives, the challenge of working through tough medical cases, and the fast-paced environment of critical care medicine.


Kelcey King is a  4th-year student at the at the University of Calgary — Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM). Kelcey grew up on a small acreage farm in Spruce Grove, Alberta with a variety of animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, a potbelly pig, and was gifted a horse for her 8th birthday.

After completing her Bachelor of Science at MacEwan University, Kelcey moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland to complete her Master of Science in Microbiology, with a focus on antibiotic resistance. This was the first time she didn’t have any pets to keep her company and she missed them immensely, so she started volunteering at the local SPCA and working as a veterinary assistant. It wasn’t long until she had 2 pet rats, a rescue cat from the SPCA, a beagle from Beagle Paws, and a profound love for veterinary medicine. After completing her Master of Science, she applied and was accepted at UCVM.

Kelcey travels back to Newfoundland during the summer to work at a small animal veterinary practice, has developed a newfound love of cows, and helps a family friend with their calving season.


Vanessa Fussell is a 4th-year student at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). Vanessa was born and raised in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia and has wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as she can remember. She enjoys spending her free time outdoors, and her hobbies include playing soccer, biking the seawall, hiking with her dog, and horseback riding. Before attending veterinary school, Vanessa worked in 3 veterinary clinics and spent a few weeks in Guatemala volunteering at a wildlife rescue. These experiences solidified her passion for veterinary medicine, and she moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to attend WCVM to pursue her dream.

At school, Vanessa keeps busy with extra-curricular activities including being President of the Radiology Club, attending extra labs after class, playing intramural sports, and working as an after-hours emergency receptionist at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre. Vanessa has been employed at Canada West Veterinary Specialists in Vancouver since her 1st year of veterinary school and has enjoyed working in the emergency room and intensive care unit during summer and Christmas vacations alongside board certified doctors. The summer after her 2nd year, Vanessa chose to gain more experience in referral and emergency medicine by working at the WCVM teaching hospital. Vanessa looks forward to returning to Vancouver after graduation in 2021 and using her experience and knowledge to provide her patients with the highest standard of medical care.


Ben Taylor is currently a 4th-year veterinary student at the University of Glasgow. He grew up in the small town of New Westminster, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, and completed his undergrad studies at UDC (The University of the District of Columbia) while on a lacrosse scholarship. Ben has always been interested in getting involved with school groups and the community, but it was at UDC where he was able to learn the importance of getting involved. Juggling lacrosse, classes, work, a research project, various school groups (including work with his fraternity Iota Phi Theta Inc., helping to uplift the Black community), and assisting to create outreach programs in the south side of DC, he learned that it doesn’t take a massive movement to elicit change, but rather small actions in our own backyards. These valuable lessons allowed Ben to gain the confidence needed to get involved at the University in Glasgow. After a close friend of his started the SCVMA chapter in Glasgow, he promptly ran for 1st-year representative and won. With guidance, the club quickly became a sensation at the University, which inspired Ben to run for presidency. During Ben’s 2 years as President, and with the help of the incredible individuals on the committee and a fiercely loyal membership, they were able to organize multiple scholastic, social and charitable events, and the club was recognized as the “Best Club of the Year.”

Ben believes moving abroad for vet school afforded him many amazing opportunities and opened his eyes to various career paths in the profession. Learning surgical skills, being a part of such a wonderfully diverse international community, and studying what he is truly passionate about, were highlightsof his program.