Making a Difference in the Lives of Veterinary Students

Growing up in a military family, Ashleigh Patridge moved more than 16 times across the U.S. and Germany throughout her childhood. Her fondest memories include her dogs and, specifically, a golden retriever named Major.

Ashleigh doesn’t recall having a decisive moment to pursue veterinary medicine. Instead, the second-year veterinary student at TTU-SVM had an underlying feeling her entire life: “This is who I am. What am I going to do to make this happen?”

Many can agree that becoming a veterinarian has never been more difficult. Students today face financial hurdles no other generation has ever experienced, and universities demand a level of access many families simply do not have. Even further, student loan debt accrued can be detrimental to a new graduate and their family. Veterinary students have an average debt-to-income ratio of 2:1, which heavily impacts the profession.

Through the Veterinary Student Support program, TVMF strives to reduce financial burdens wherever possible. The Veterinary Student Support program provides scholarships, emergency grants, professional development opportunities, stipends and sponsorships to attend research training and continuing education. As the charitable arm of the veterinary profession in Texas, TVMF offers many kinds of support to students.

“I am an independent young woman, trying to pay her way through vet school,” Ashleigh said. “The Foundation’s help to alleviate my loan amount this semester truly is a gift I will never take for granted. I am endlessly grateful to all the donors who contributed and those who thought I was worthy to receive a gift like this. Thank you. This scholarship inspires me to keep working, keep giving back and keep driving forward.”

Ashleigh was the first TTU-SVM student to receive TVMF’s Philanthropy Scholarship. She was presented with the award in January by TVMF President Dr. Chad Harris. This scholarship recognizes four students, one second-year and one third-year at each of the two Texas veterinary schools, who have been engaged in philanthropic activities and have demonstrated leadership by supporting or starting a charitable program. TVMF’s Philanthropy Scholarship was established in 2019 by a former TAMU-VMBS student representative on TVMF’s Board of Trustees.

Last winter, Ashleigh started a highly successful blanket drive in which she brought people together to donate more than 100 blankets and essential items to the local animal shelter in Amarillo. She also contributes her time to assist the shelter’s veterinarian, an activity that helps the shelter while broadening her veterinary experience. Ashleigh’s love for companion animals fuels her desire to serve, and her philanthropic spirit is apparent to her classmates and professors.

“I can put this simply: Ashleigh is a great person!,” said Dr. John Dascanio, TTU-SVM Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. “She is kind, outgoing, mature, easygoing and gregarious. Her actions are genuine and from the heart. Ashleigh is well deserving of this scholarship, and I fully expect her efforts will continue well into the future. In her short time with TTU-SVM, she has made an impact!”

Ashleigh was re-elected as the Class of 2025 Vice President, is a member of the Companion Animal Club and remains excited about the curriculum she’s learning.

“Whether learning the ins and outs of small animal echocardiograms or learning how to place a paralumbar fossa block on a cow, every time you learn and master something new is the most rewarding and exhilarating experience,” she said.

TVMF is committed to assisting our future veterinarians like Ashleigh. Helping and encouraging students to be successful is a major component of our mission to support the veterinary profession. By supporting their endeavors early in their careers, TVMF helps create strong, devoted and philanthropic veterinary professionals.

Through TVMF, current veterinary professionals have opportunities to invest in their future colleagues. By contributing to the Veterinary Student Support program, donors further the collective efforts of the profession and extend a lending hand to future generations.

“It takes a village to be in this industry,” Ashleigh said. “The veterinary community and support teams are so essential for our success as students. We are so blessed to have TVMF in our corner.”

Find out how you can support veterinary students in Texas by visiting Want to fund a scholarship? Contact TVMF Director of Development Casey McBee at 512-452-4224 or the contact us page.