Emergency Care for Animals by philanthropy

Kelly Morello
Kelly Morello works with sugar gliders at the University of Queensland in Australia. Hometown: San Clemente, Calif. Major: Veterinary Medicine
Scholarship enables student to care for animals nationally and internationally

By Trevor Stewart 

Kelly Morello’s ’19 first exposure to veterinary medicine came when she was just seven years old, participating in "Animal Camp" at her local animal shelter. From that point on she was hooked – from the ages of 12-18, she volunteered at several shelters near her home. Her dream was to become a veterinarian – so after receiving her B.S. in Animal Science at Cal Poly, it only made sense to apply to UC Davis, the top-ranked veterinary medicine school in the world.  

“I was so happy to be able to come here,” Morello said. “When I applied I wasn’t sure I would get in, so I feel fortunate to be here.” 

Not only was Morello admitted to the School of Veterinary Medicine, she was the recipient of several scholarships along the way, including the Student Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (SVECCS) Scholarship and the Dorothy J. Oliver Scholarship. The SVECCS scholarship is geared toward students with an interest in emergency veterinarian care while the Dorothy J. Oliver Scholarship supports students with an interest in small animal medicine. She developed a passion for helping small animals with urgent needs when she worked in an emergency practice as an undergraduate. 

Morello, who studies small animal medicine and emergency and critical care, dreams of working at a multi-specialty small animal hospital and knows her ability to work in emergency situations will be invaluable to offering top-notch care for her patients. 

Beyond her coursework, Morello has been able to put her small animal and veterinary emergency skills to use through Global Veterinary Alliance trips to Nicaragua. Natalie Crowe ’18, Abigail Fosdick ’18, and Melissa Rothstein ’18 started the nonprofit – Fosdick and Morello went on to launch the UC Davis student chapter on campus. The mobile clinics operate out of an old school bus with no running water or electricity. In June and December of 2017, Morello, as clinic director, led Global Veterinary Alliance's veterinary team to serve six communities in Nicaragua, operating seven mobile clinic sites over ten days. During each trip, the team saw over 350 patients and performed over 60 surgeries for the underserved communities. 

“Many UC Davis veterinary students are volunteering or partnered with projects like this, such as the clinics in Mercer, Covelo and Knights Landing,” Morello said. “As part of the veterinary community, we are passionate about this field and care about the animals and people involved – they are the best part of doing this work.” 

Morello said it would be difficult for her and many of her classmates to be able to afford tuition without the assistance of scholarships, not to mention participating in extra-curricular activities. She is extremely appreciative of donors who make it possible for her and her peers to focus on their education and helping animals through field work and volunteering, rather than worrying about holding down a full-time job to pay the rent and tuition. 

“I just want to say thank you to donors for this incredible gift; it means so much to me,” Morello said. “They are investing in the future of veterinary medicine.”