Elizabeth Forbes of Nashua, N.H., received the 2017 Dean Clarence H. McElroy Award, the highest honor an Oklahoma State veterinary student can achieve. The recipient is voted on by a ballot of faculty and class peers and is based on high academic achievement, leadership, and outstanding clinical proficiency.
“I was in shock when they announced my name; I still am,” said Forbes. “It’s really humbling but also scary to follow in the footsteps of other people who have received that award in the past. It’s a little nerve racking but I’m very grateful for it.”
Forbes had been toying with the idea of becoming a veterinarian through high school but it was in undergraduate school that she made up her mind.
“I wasn’t really sure until probably my sophomore year of undergrad,” she said. “I started working with a private equine practitioner and with Tufts’ ambulatory vets a little bit. I think then I really decided that it is what I wanted to do. I really love the human-animal bond we form with horses. I decided on veterinary medicine because having healthy horses is so important for maintaining that bond.”
Forbes earned a BS degree in Animal Science at the University of Connecticut. She chose Oklahoma State University for her DVM degree for a couple of reasons.
“I really wanted to get horse experience. I know there is a huge equine population here (Oklahoma). So as I expected, there was a great equine case load. Also, the tuition is pretty reasonable for out of state students, one of the lowest in the country. So that’s always a factor.
“I really loved fourth year,” continued Forbes. “Some of my favorite moments were with patient care and seeing patients get better a little bit at a time and feeling like you are actually doing something.”
Following graduation, Forbes is heading to an equine internship at an equine referral hospital. After that, she would like to go into a general equine practice, hopefully an ambulatory type practice.
“I think you have to have something that you are really passionate about in veterinary medicine. I don’t think you have to like all aspects of veterinary medicine. I know I certainly don’t enjoy a lot of the small animal stuff but I think you have to find a path that you really love.”
In addition to the Dean McElroy Award, Forbes also earned a Butch and Luella Ruth Curtis Educational Fund Award for her academic achievements and a Dr. C. Kip Doran Memorial Scholarship for her interest in equine medicine and surgery. The month before graduation, she was inducted into the Nu Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta, the honor society of veterinary medicine. Forbes is the daughter of Cynthia Dunlop and Thomas Forbes of Nashua.
Photo by: Genesee Photo.