CVMA | CVMA Student Leadership Award

Meet the 2021 CVMA Student Leadership Award recipients

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 2021 CVMA Student Leadership Award recipients:

Congratulations to Aly Brown for being chosen as the 2021 recipient of the CVMA Student Leadership Award at AVC!

Get to know Aly a bit more!

What year of study at AVC are you enrolled in? 4th year, Class of 2022

What professor or person has been your greatest inspiration and why? Dr. Anne Marie Carey is a great role model at AVC, as she is very involved in the AVC, and is invested in student learning and overall mental health.

Other than completing your degree, what are your goals while you are a student here? I aim to make AVC a great place to students to learn and interact with each other. I hope to do this though my volunteer work with the Society of Atlantic Veterinary Students.

Do you volunteer and what extracurricular activities do you enjoy: I enjoy helping with the Society of Atlantic Veterinary Students, by trying to make our student life great at the AVC. I am also actively involved in my class executive, where we work to support students in our class.

Here's a bit more about Aly: I enjoy hiking and enjoying nature while I am not busy at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Thank you so much for your generous donation to the AVC. This prestigious award means a great deal to me, as it was one that was chosen by my peers. Helping my AVC community is very important to me, and it is a pleasure to know that my actions are being noticed by others. Again, thank you so much!


Alyssa Arsever is a 3rd-year student at the Université de Montréal — Faculté de médecine vétérinaire in Saint-Hyacinthe. She completes her studies in French, which is 4th spoken language, after English, Armenian and Italian. Alyssa enjoys playing soccer and spends her free time playing guitar.

Having started her university studies in Neurosciences at University de Montréal, Alyssa was able to acquire knowledge about the brain and gain experience working with animals from a research perspective during her internship. Once accepted into veterinary medicine, she quickly became involved in various extracurricular activities to explore her interests. In her first year, Alyssa became her class representative of the Emergency medicine club of which she is now vice-president. Throughout the years, she became an active volunteer at the animal shelter within the school, Refuge CHUV, and took part in their trap neuter and release programs, adoption committee and managed their Instagram account. On the path to explore more of her interests, Alyssa took on the role of student representative of the AVQMR (Association Vétérinaire Québécoise de Médecine de Refuge) at the start of her 3rd year.

Students faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to online school left many feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. During this difficult time, Alyssa took on the role of academic delegate to better help her classmates and to build a bridge between students and teachers. She has also spread positivity with encouraging messages and awareness on mental health to combat the feeling of loneliness and to remind her classmates that they are one big family


Saanya Karim grew up in the greater Toronto area is currently in her final year at the Ontario Veterinary College.

Saanya was first exposed to veterinary medicine in high school, when she began volunteering at a local veterinary clinic. Later, in between summers of her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, she worked at the Toronto Wildlife Centre which further solidified her passion for animal health. She had an incredible experience working with a variety of species. Saanya has always enjoyed working in a team, a big reason why she loves veterinary medicine because of how collaborative and creative the profession is!

During her time at OVC, she was the President of the Central Veterinary Student Associate, the SCACVIM (Internal Medicine Club) and cofounded OVC DIVERSE. Diversity and inclusivity in the veterinary profession is something she is passionate about and believes in encouraging conversations on how to make veterinary medicine accessible to everyone - both as a profession and as a service.

In her free time, Saanya loves to draw and spend time with her rabbit Buster who is almost 10 and has free run of the house!

After graduation, she hopes to pursue small animal medicine, and incorporate some emergency work and will continue to be an active member of the veterinary community.


Saskia de Jong grew up on reserve in remote northern Ontario in an area that had more bears than it had people. She enjoys being involved in community outreach and has a fondness for working with Indigenous communities and volunteering with the Special Olympics.

She studied at Dalhousie University and James Cook University and obtained a Master of Science before moving to Calgary to help take care of a sick family member. Her hobbies include playing fiddle/violin, learning more about the indigenous customs and languages she was raised with, reading, beading, soccer, archery, and long-course triathlon. Throughout schooling, Saskia has continued to be a lifeguard and swim instructor and works as an assistant in a small animal clinic. Currently she is gaining more experience in a rural mixed practice in Northern Alberta. Prior to attending UCVM she worked full time as an assistant in small animal practice but spent many summers helping family friends on their farms with diary cattle, alpacas, goats, and chickens.

At UCVM Saskia is the secretary for the Pathology Club and Behaviour and Animal Training Club. She is also co-chair for the UCVM WIDE (Wellness, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) taskforce; a group that is comprised of faculty, staff, and students. She also founded the UCVM WIDE student group to help better support equity, diversity, and inclusion of students at UCVM. Saskia is also one of the founding members of the student One Health Club which is comprised of a small group of veterinary and medical students working together to promote better health outcomes for humans, animals, and the environment by improving working relationships and bonds between students in medicine, veterinary medicine and nursing.


Breanna Piecowye is currently in her fourth-year in the DVM program and is also completing a Master's degree, studying the effects of elevated stress in waterfowl species, and the methodology behind quantifying corticosterone in duck eggs. She has always wanted to be a veterinarian, and excited to be in this profession. Due to her passion for wildlife and research, she hopes to pursue a future in wildlife health and conservation. After she graduates, Brenna will finish her Master's degree and will continue further education in Zoological Medicine or wildlife research. Additionally, mental health advocacy and improving the veterinary profession is a passion of hers. She hopes the veterinary profession will continue to evolve in a way that is healthier for her colleagues, and offer support and guidance for anyone struggling. Brenna would like to thank her classmates for this award. They are wonderful people that inspire her every day.