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Rachel Baum named 2013 Outstanding Graduating Student


Rachel Baum of Gaithersburg, Md., has been named as the Outstanding Graduating Student in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine for the 2012-13 academic year.

Baum received her bachelor's degree in biology from St. Mary's College of Maryland and will receive her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in May. In addition, she plans to earn a master's degree in public health from Virginia Tech in the fall.

Rachel Baum

Rachel Baum, the college's Outstanding Graduating Student, enjoyed working with a young orphaned wombat named Katie during her clinical rotation in Australia.

Baum has excelled academically and was the recipient of the 2012 Tyler J. and Frances F. Young Scholarship and the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Award. In 2013, she was awarded the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Award, the Amy L. McDermott Memorial Scholarship, and the Southwest Virginia Veterinary Medical Association Scholarship. She was also named the 2013 Outstanding Student Ambassador in recognition of her passion, enthusiasm, and professionalism when representing the college.

Baum serves as current chair of the college's Honor Board, as well as a college ambassador. She served as an on-call student veterinary technician for two years starting in 2010. She has been a North American Veterinary Conference student representative since 2011.

Since early March, she has been on a six-week clinical rotation at the Healesville Sanctuary in Healesville, Victoria, Australia. "The sanctuary treats injured wildlife and takes care of the collection of animals that reside there," Baum said. "The facility plays an important role in wildlife conservation and they also have several endangered species breeding programs in effect."

Her Australian experience is a direct result of Baum's initiative, according to Dr. Jacque Pelzer, director of admissions and student services at the veterinary college. "Rachel is the full package," she said. "Not only is she passionate, caring and kind, but she's well liked by classmates, faculty, and clients who have recognized the special qualities about her."

Baum is the daughter of Kris and Michael Baum of Gaithersburg.

The Outstanding Senior Awards are presented at the Student Honors Day Banquet each spring. These awards are co-sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the senior class.

The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding student performance in each college of the university. Students are selected on the basis of their grade point average (3.4 or higher on a 4.0 scale) and outstanding performance in several or all of the following areas: academic achievement, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, and contributions of service to the university and/or community.

Rachel Baum and kangaroo patient Rachel Baum worked with a variety of wildlife during her time at the Healesville Sanctuary
in Australia, including this anesthetized kangaroo.