CVM Graduate Student Earns SMART Scholarship from US Department of Defense

Krisa Camargo and Reveille in front of a maroon Texas A&M Association of Former Students background
Krisa Camargo and Reveille

Krisa Camargo, a graduate research assistant in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) Interdisciplinary Faculty of Toxicology (IFT) program, has been awarded a Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the United States Department of Defense (DoD).

The scholarship will cover Camargo’s tuition, textbooks, health insurance, and an annual stipend for the final two years of her Ph.D. dissertation work, as well as guarantee her a summer internship and future civilian position with her DoD sponsoring facility upon graduation.

“It was a pleasant surprise and a nice relief,” Camargo said. “I can now focus on my research and get into the details prior to defending my dissertation.”

Camargo will spend summer 2020 working directly with an experienced mentor at the Army Public Health Center in Aberdeen, Maryland, to gain valuable skills and field experience.

Upon graduation, she will begin her service commitment and contribute to national security at the same Army facility as a civilian employee.

“This is a major accomplishment that our program and the entire university are very proud of,” said Dr. Ivan Rusyn, University Professor and chair of the toxicology program at Texas A&M. “This is a very competitive program and Krisa has taken initiative to seek external funding to help her proactively shape her career aspirations.”

At the Army Public Health Center, Camargo will work within the toxicology division to support the war fighter, their families, and the environment by characterizing the potential risks associated with military-related substances like smokes and obscurants.

“Ideally, you want functional products without adverse health effects for either the public or the environment,” she said.

Since her father served in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for more than 21 years, Camargo has moved more than seven times across the Eastern seaboard. As a result, her military family has grown over the years and she is excited to work for the military as a civilian and SMART scholar.

At the CVM, Camargo is a trainee at the Texas A&M Superfund Research Center (SRC) under the mentorship of CVM professor Dr. Weihsueh Chiu; Dr. Thomas McDonald, Regents Professor in the School of Public Health; and Dr. Anthony Knap, professor in the College of Geosciences and director of the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group.

“The SMART scholarship, with its ultimate goal of protecting military personnel and their families from health impacts of military-related substances, is a great fit for Krisa and we are very proud of her accomplishment,” Chiu said. “Moreover, it serves as a great example of how our toxicology training program in Regulatory Science seeks to prepare trainees for careers across a range of sectors.”

Camargo is writing her dissertation on the characterization of environmental mixtures in Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel soils and sediments.

“Within the Superfund Research Center, I’m primarily working with sediments or soils,” Camargo said. “I characterize the contaminants potentially in these samples and quantify their respective concentrations. Then I ask, ‘What should we do about it?’ ‘Are they of concern?’ and ‘What is the exposure risk associated with these samples?’”

This work guided her decision to pursue the SMART scholarship, she said.

“Dr. Rusyn and the faculty in the Superfund center opened the door (to the DoD opportunity) by encouraging me to be bold with my career,” Camargo said. “Each individual who visited represented a range of career sectors which included consultants, state or federal government officials, industry scientists, and academics.”

Through those visiting speakers, she began to develop her interest in government and regulatory risk assessment. After learning about the SMART program from one speaker and researching the opportunity more, she found it to be a great fit, especially as the military is and continues to be near and dear to her.

Camargo grew up in Virginia for one of her father’s USCG tours and attended George Mason University for her undergraduate degree in neuroscience.

“I’m excited about returning ‘home!’ I’ve missed the East Coast,” Camargo said. “It’ll be nice to go back to the D.C. area but also do something I enjoy.”

To apply for the SMART scholarship, Camargo submitted her application that consisted of her doctoral proposal, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement about her interest in the program. Upon review of a SMART committee panel, she was preliminarily selected prior to interviewing with her selected DoD sponsoring facilities.

The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program was established as a concentrated effort to enhance the DoD workforce with talented, innovative, and brilliant scientists, engineers, and researchers. For more than a decade, SMART Scholars have been working within labs and agencies of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and additional DoD to support the war fighter and create an impact to secure our nation.

For more information on the SMART Program or to learn how students can apply, please visit The application window is open from August through December every year.


For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Interim Director of CVM Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science;; 979-862-4216

CVM Students Receive Texas, Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation Scholarships

Brooke Kehlenbrink
Brooke Kehlenbrink

Three fourth-year veterinary students at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) were awarded scholarships from the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation (TSCRF) this summer.

Brooke Kehlenbrink, Reagan McAda, and Kody Scherer were the recipients of the $5,000 2019 TSCRF Large Animal Veterinary Scholarship, which supports CVM veterinary students planning careers in large animal medicine.

The TSCRF scholarship committee worked with Dr. Susan Eades, CVM professor and department head of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (VLCS), to choose the three recipients.

Kehlenbrink, from Bryan, plans to serve as both a veterinarian and a leader in her community after graduation. She hopes to provide services to farmers and ranchers that will increase the quality of life of cattle while saving the producer time, money, and resources.

“I want to help protect and promote agriculture and the families that stake their livelihood in livestock production,” Kehlenbrink said. “This scholarship is a stepping stone that will provide stability and pave the way for a young veterinarian who wants to make an impact on the world.”

Reagan McAda
Reagan McAda

Thanks to her externship experiences and mentors in the veterinary community, she has had the opportunity to learn about areas beyond traditional veterinary medicine, including animal husbandry, economics, and production system management.

“I now have a rejuvenated passion for public health, disease prevention, and working with producers in new ways to improve their production management,” she said. “I also want to work with community officials to make a disaster plan for the pets of the community and promote disaster preparedness with my clients.”

McAda spent his childhood in Hallettsville, working at his father’s mixed animal practice. He developed a passion for veterinary medicine and plans to work as a rural veterinarian in Lavaca County.

“I am honored to receive this scholarship from an organization like TSCRA that protects, supports, and promotes producers in the cattle industry,” McAda said.

“Upon graduation, it is my intention to serve others in a rural area, be a mindful steward of our land, and ensure a sustainable food animal industry for those around me,” he said. “I aim to give back to the community that helped mold me and gave me opportunities that have brought me to where I am today.”

Kody Scherer
Kody Scherer

Scherer, from McKinney, plans to find a mentor to work with before eventually opening his own animal clinic in a rural area. His goal is to work with his community’s agriculture program to inspire kids with a passion for the veterinary and cattle industries.

“I am extremely grateful to receive such a generous scholarship,” Scherer said. “This scholarship not only helps me get one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a veterinarian, but it also relieves a great deal of stress. So, thank you once again, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation.”

The TSCRF scholarships are funded by private donations to the TSCRF Scholarship Program and are used for tuition, fees, and externship expenses during their last year of their veterinary education.

The annual Large Animal Veterinary Scholarship was created in 2007 to invest in the future of the cattle industry and improve the quality of the agricultural process. The goal of the TSCRF scholarship is to encourage students to dedicate their professional careers to the cattle industry.

Honoring Michelle

Inspired by her late daughter-in-law’s lifetime of generosity, Linda Holsey has endowed the Michelle Lynn Holsey Scholarship in Biomedical Sciences to provide financial assistance to a student who plans to pursue a medical degree. 


Michelle Lynn Holsey and her family

When Michelle Lynn Holsey was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer in 2003, she told her family that she wouldn’t let the disease stop her from helping others.

Her family recalls their days traveling from Crockett to Houston’s M.D. Anderson and how Michelle would always stop to talk to people in the waiting room. She had an especially soft heart for the parents of small children who were also going through their own cancer battles or those who had to miss weeks of work to receive care.

Michelle always went out of her way to strike up conversations and form lasting relationships with the people she met. They’d begin their treatments as strangers, but Michelle easily earned their friendship.

After numerous surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments—including traveling to Germany for an innovative treatment—her cancer persisted and, sadly, in 2006, Michelle passed away.

“Throughout the entire process, Michelle maintained an attitude of confidence and fought a valiant battle the same way she lived her life with faith, hope, and dignity,” said Linda Holsey, Michelle’s mother-in-law.

Inspired by Michelle’s lifetime of generosity, her family was determined to continue her legacy and ensure that her giving spirit lives on, establishing the Michelle Lynn Holsey Foundation shortly after her passing to assist those battling cancer and other debilitating diseases, while funding innovative treatments and supporting education.

“The foundation has monthly grant meetings at which time qualifying grant applicants are awarded funds to meet their needs, and yearly scholarships are given to graduating seniors in both Houston and Brazos Counties,” Linda said. “The foundation continues to grow and help those in need with the help of various yearly fundraisers and the generosity of the community and friends across the nation.

“Our largest fundraiser is the annual five-day National Cutting Horse Association-sanctioned event held the first week of October, currently at the Brazos County Expo Center, with a steak dinner, live and silent auctions, and a concert on Saturday night of the cutting week,” she said.

Because of Michelle’s experience with some very hardworking doctors, Linda decided to honor Michelle in her own way, by establishing an endowed scholarship in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) undergraduate program to help a future medical student.

Giving to Texas A&M is also special to the family because two of Michelle’s daughters—Hannah Lynn Holsey Craycraft and Holly Ann Holsey, as well as son-in-law Clint Craycraft—are Aggie graduates.

“Michelle gave unconditional love and loyalty to everyone she met. She was a source of wisdom, an exemplary role model, a loving mother and wife, and a tireless volunteer to many causes. She unknowingly blessed everyone she came in contact with simply by being herself,” Linda said. “I wanted to create this scholarship to help soon-to-be medical students pay for their education and get off on the right track.”

The BIMS program in the CVM is one of the largest degree-granting majors at Texas A&M, and students in the program explore many aspects of applied biology related to health and disease. Students in the program frequently go on to careers or post-secondary education in fields like medicine, veterinary medicine, or dentistry.

The Michelle Lynn Holsey Scholarship in Biomedical Sciences is one of 12 endowed scholarships in the program.

“The Biomedical Sciences program is very thankful to the family of Michelle Lynn Holsey for this scholarship. Her story is inspirational and many of our students decide to pursue medicine because of patients such as Michelle,” said Dr. Elizabeth Crouch, CVM associate dean for undergraduate education. “The award to be made in her name will assist an undergraduate who has many years of education for which to pay and, when they hear her story, I know they will be further motivated to work hard and succeed both academically and professionally.”

Because the scholarship is endowed, it will provide annual awards to aspiring medical students in perpetuity. The scholarship will be awarded to its first recipient in the fall of 2019.



For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Interim Director of CVM Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science;; 979-862-4216

Klemm Encourages Veterinary Research Through Endowment

Dr. William KlemmGiving comes in all forms, shapes and sizes.

Dr. William Klemm, a senior professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVM) Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS) department, has given his time and talents to thousands of students over the years.

And now, his way of giving comes in the form of a scholarship.

Through his gift, Klemm will provide a salary for veterinary students who use their summers to do research under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

“My career in biomedical research has been very fulfilling, but I did not realize this would be the case as a student because I had so little exposure to research,” he said. “Through this scholarship, I want to help other veterinary students have a research experience so they can discover early on if research is something they, too, might become passionate about.”

Klemm began his education at the University of Tennessee, and after receiving early admission to veterinary school, earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Auburn University, of which he is now a distinguished alumnus.

But it wasn’t until he became the veterinarian at the Air Force base at which he was stationed and was named head of the human hospital’s diagnostic laboratory that he was introduced to research through journals he read in the hospital’s library.

“I was somewhat surprised that my veterinary education prepared me to understand what I was reading,” he said. “In the process, I became interested in research and discovered I had a capacity for it, so I decided to go to graduate school. Veterinary school prepared me for that, too.”

At the University of Notre Dame, Klemm received his Ph.D. in biology and then began his career in academia. After an assistant professorship at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, he came to the Texas A&M University Department of Biology in 1966, where he taught introductory biology and created two upper-level physiology courses before moving to the VIBS department as a professor of neuroscience.

While he finds teaching fulfilling, research, he said, “is my first love.”

“I went on to the veterinary school at Auburn blind to the world of research. I wasn’t exposed much to research at Auburn either. So, I lost a few years before I discovered what my calling was,” Klemm said. “I created the scholarship, and a similar one at Auburn, so that at least a few students might engage the world of research early on in their education and perhaps discover a calling they might otherwise miss. At the two institutions, around 15 students have thus far participated.”

He retired from Texas A&M 17 years ago but has continued to work part-time through the CVM’s PEER program and teaching various neuroscience courses. He currently teaches 400-level courses, including the online course “Core Ideas in Neuroscience” (VIBS 407) and “Neuroscience and Religion” (VIBS 408).

“My goal in teaching is to help students grow in competence and confidence,” Klemm said. “When that happens, I feel as if I have done my job.”

He also continues to mentor his young students, especially those in the “Neuroscience and Religion” course.

“I know this is an unorthodox subject, but it has major impact on students, and on me, too,” he said. “I have explained all that in a recently published paper aimed at encouraging other universities to create such a course.”

Aside from teaching and research, Klemm said he hopes investing in students will make a difference in their lives. He also hopes that other faculty members will follow in his footsteps by endowing a scholarship of their own.

“You can’t take it with you,” he said. “Donated money can position a student for a fulfilling career that they might otherwise miss. Even if they don’t become a scientist, they get a little spending money which they surely need to finish college. What is a better use of your dime than that?”

Veterinarian and Rehab/Vet Tech Scholarships Launched by Walkin Pets

AMHERST, NH (January 27, 2017) – Walkin’ Pets is sponsoring a new Veterinarian and Rehab/Vet Tech Scholarship Program for doctoral veterinary, canine rehabilitation or veterinary tech students. Walkin’ Pets, a pet product company serving the needs of aging, disabled, and injured pets and their pet caretakers with products such as the Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair, is honoring the veterinary and canine rehabilitation community with the announcement of these two scholarships.

Daisy using a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchairFull-time doctoral students entering their senior year in 2017 at an accredited veterinary school may apply for the $1,000 Veterinarian Scholarship. Full-time canine rehabilitation or veterinary tech students entering their graduation year in 2017 at an accredited canine rehabilitation or veterinary tech program may apply for the $500 Rehab/Vet Tech Scholarship.

The application period for these two scholarships is open Feb. 1-July 31, 2017. Scholarship recipients will be notified on Oct. 1, 2017. Applicants are asked to respond to an essay topic and submit a short online application.

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Walkin’ Pets by is an online pet product company serving the needs of disabled, injured, and aging pets and their owners. Signature products include the Walkin’ Wheels adjustable dog wheelchair, the Walkin’ Lift Combo Harness, Walkin’ Dog Boots, and more. 105 Route 101A, Suite 18 Amherst, NH 03031, (888) 253-0777,