Melbourne win for Australian Veterinary Association awards

April 15 / 156

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduate Sam Morgan, winner of the Don Kerr Student Award, with lovely red kelpie
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduate Sam Morgan, winner of the Don Kerr Student Award, with lovely red kelpie


Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduate Sam Morgan has won the Australian Veterinary Association’s Don Kerr Student Award.


The award recognises a final year veterinary student for academic achievement and exceptional commitment to cattle medicine. 


This is the first time a University of Melbourne student has won the award since 2003.


Dr Morgan has a long history of working with cattle. His family moved to Tasmania to work in wool, beef, dairy and lamb production, and began his own career with a move to the Northern Territory to muster cattle as his father had done before him. 


He earned a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours from the University of Tasmania, and spent the next 12 months helping to manage 7,000 head of cattle and 40,000 lambs at a feedlot in Deniliquin, New South Wales.


Dr Morgan said working closely with vets on the feedlot sparked his interest in further study and led him to enrol in the Melbourne Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2011.


“I enjoyed working with them; they really helped us out,” he said.

“That triggered my curiosity into cattle medicine – I hadn’t really considered it seriously until then.”


Dr Morgan said his experience in the Northern Territory and NSW had helped him to build animal handling skills and a rapport with farmers.

“Chatting with farmers, being able to communicate with them and understanding how they work has definitely helped me as a vet.”


He received a Rural Veterinary Student Scholarship from the University in recognition of his commitment to rural practice and maintained high grades across all subjects.


Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Dean Ken Hinchcliff said Dr Morgan was an extremely worthy recipient of the award.


“Sam has been a diligent committee member of the Bovine Appreciation Group at the University, and has maintained an outstanding academic record throughout his studies,” Professor Hinchcliff said. 


“I look forward to seeing his future contributions to cattle medicine and rural practice.”


In February Dr Morgan began work at Scottsdale Veterinary Services in his home state of Tasmania. He sees a career in veterinary science as a way to give back to rural Australia.


“University graduates don’t tend to return to rural areas, and this has been one way for me to do that while pursuing academia,” he said.


Dr Morgan will receive the award at the Australian Veterinary Association 2015 Pan Pacific Veterinary Conference in May.


Story by Stuart Winthorpe

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