New Brunswick Kennel Club Scholarship

The New Brunswick Kennel Club has established a scholarship program for New Jersey Veterinary Students. Funds are accrued throughout the year from our programs. We would like to request your help in identifying and distributing the attached application to eligible postgraduate NJ student(s) attending your institution.

The scholarship will be in the amount of $500.00 to $2,500.00. The applicant must be entering their third or fourth year of a post graduate veterinary program of an accredited university or veterinary school. Complete criteria for applying for the scholarship is attached.

If you are a postgraduate NJ student who is interested in applying for the scholarship, please complete the application requirements and send it to Diana Henry, 28 Lawrence Brook Drive, East Brunswick, NJ 08816. The deadline for applications every year will be January 30th and every January 30th thereafter unless notified otherwise by the New Brunswick Kennel Club. Members of the New Brunswick Kennel Club and their immediate families are not eligible for this scholarship. Preference is given to applicants going into a small animal practice.


The Scholarship Committee will meet by mid-February every year to determine the winner.

  • 1. The committee will accept and consider completed applications that are received by January 30th only.

    • a. A completed application includes the following:
      • 1. The application itself must be completely filled out- additional sheets may be attached if needed.
      • 2. Two letters of reference- one should be personal (NOT from family members) and one should be of an academic nature (school administration/faculty, veterinarians and etc.).
      • 3. Official veterinary school transcripts.
      • 4. Proof of NJ residency (copy of driver's license).

  • 2. The committee will consider the applicant based on the documentation received re: following categories/criteria for evaluation:

    • a. Demonstration of financial need.
    • b. Academic excellence (must have a GPA of at least 3.0).
    • c. Letters of reference.
    • d. Community and volunteer services/activities.
    • e. Career goals.
    • f. Comments on the following two essays (feel free to add additional pages if needed):

      • 1. "Compare and contrast animal welfare vs. animal rights. Discuss the responsibility veterinarians have to respond to their clients' wishes regarding a variety of elective surgeries."
      • 2. "Given the current trends in animal legislation, describe how those trends will affect the future of the veterinary world, as well as that of animal owners."

    3. The committee will arrive at a consensus winner and present the winner's name and information to the New Brunswick Kennel Club in March of every year. Scholarship award will be sent out by the end of March to the applicant's school.

Printable Application


Matthew Cook

I am currently a 3rd year veterinary student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. A native of Freehold, NJ, I graduated from the Academy of Allied Health and Science in Neptune, NJ and went on to and graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2012. While in veterinary school, I conducted research on swine vocalization patterns and was selected to present the results of that work at the 2013 American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas. I also spent a summer working at the Vet and Agric Consultants Clinic in Gaborone, Botswana where I had the opportunity to gain international experience working with small animals and wildlife in Africa. After graduating from veterinary school, I hope to complete an internship and residency to work towards a career in small animal emergency and critical care. Aside from veterinary school, I enjoy traveling, reading, supporting the New York Yankees and Giants, and hanging out with my Bull Mastiff, Lola.

Our 2013 Scholarship Winner

Chelsea Opdyke

This year's winner of the New Brunswick Kennel Club Scholarship is Chelsea Opdyke. Chelsea's home is in Lambertville, New Jersey when she is not attending the University of Tennessee CVM. She is a graduate of Hunterdon Central Regional High School and graduated early (3.5 yrs.) from West Virginia University. After graduation, Chelsea hopes to work at a mixed animal practice. She would like to return to the clinic that she has been working at for the past four and half years.

Our 2014 Scholarship Winner

Katie Pesce

I am currently a 4th year at The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and am excited to graduate in May. My other passion in life aside from veterinary medicine is cooking. I am very adventurous and am happy doing any outdoor activity, although taking my Great Dane, Bella, to the beach is my favorite. I have lived in Hillsborough, NJ my entire life and am returning to NJ to complete an internship program at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital upon graduation. My ultimate goal is to complete a residency in neurology. I would also like to provide veterinary care for working dogs, such as Seeing Eye dogs and Police K-9 units in addition to practicing neurology.

Michelle Zappacosta is a former recipient of our Scholarship Program

Growing up as a horse-crazy little girl in South Jersey, my dreams for a future career never included becoming a veterinarian. But now I couldn't imagine doing anything but.

My love for the sciences began in high school at Our Lady of Mercy Academy thanks to my marine biology and anatomy teacher, Mrs. Coppinger. I then moved on to the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and received my Bachelors of Science in Biology. It was my advisor, Dr. Ralph Werner, at Stockton that planted the seed that placed veterinary medicine on my radar map. Why would I want to be that? I didn't even really understand a vet's job.

My family adopted a wonderful dog named Cydney my senior year in high school. Not until a few years later when I became panicked over a scare in her health did I really come to realize how important our veterinarian was in Cydney and my lives. So I finally gave in to my Stockton advisor's advice on giving veterinary medicine a try. I shadowed Dr. Robin Love at Bethel Mill Animal Hospital - and haven't looked back since. I've been working there for 4 years now, and I am starting my third year at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine.

While I enjoy the bond created with the animals we care for, I truly love meeting their owner's and view our relationship as partners in caring for their pets. Surgery is also a passion of mine, and although I have not eliminated the possibility of becoming a specialist, I truly enjoy the range of care and treatments I would have as a general practitioner. I must admit that I’m partial to dogs; currently I am working with PennHIP to research and discover ways to lessen the prevalence of canine hip dysplasia.

I wouldn't be where I am without the love and support of my great family, influential teachers, and the spark from that little brown dog named Cydney.


Michelle Zappacosta accepting this years scholarship at the NBKC show presented by Donna Welty.