Otterbein Receives Choose Ohio First Grant to Support Students in Allied Health, Equine Pre-Veterinary, and Veterinary Technology Majors

Posted Dec 13, 2022

Otterbein University has received a Choose Ohio First (COF) grant of $462,621.60 over five years from the State of Ohio and the Department of Higher Education (ODHE) for scholarship support for students from Ohio majoring in allied health, equine pre-veterinary, and veterinary technology. This is Otterbein’s fourth COF grant.

Both allied health and equine science are expected to be job growth areas in coming years. Additionally, Otterbein has launched a new program so every student will receive guided career preparation over their four years of college, making them ideal employees upon graduation. 

“As Otterbein launches the first year of the Otterbein READY program, we are equipped to promote work-based learning as part of our curriculum and campus culture. The READY program and Choose Ohio First priorities align closely in promoting real world experience to college students to prepare them for the demands of the workforce no matter their major or area of study. Our Choose Ohio First scholarships support students in fields that are experiencing growth or increasing demand in central Ohio and across the state,” said Janelle Hallett, director of grants and sponsored programs. 

Allied health encompasses a very broad group of health professionals who use evidence-based practice for the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of diseases, promote disease prevention and wellness for optimum health, and apply administration and management skills to support health care systems in a variety of settings. This COF grant comes at a time when the need for more healthcare workers is high. 

“The COF grant for allied health students will provide exposure and opportunities for students wishing to pursue a wide variety of options in health care-based fields. This grant also supports the strength of the program which is grounded in the sciences and science focused hands-on experiences,” said Joan Rocks, chair of the Department of Health and Sport Sciences.  

“The Choose Ohio First grant will allow Allied Health students the opportunity to pursue their dreams of becoming a healthcare provider and fulfilling a life of service to other Ohioans,” added Shelley Payne, professor of health and sport sciences. 

For Otterbein’s Department of Equine Science, the COF will assist in recruiting underrepresented and low-income students to the equine pre-veterinary medicine/pre-graduate studies and equine veterinary technology majors. Each eligible student will receive $1,500 – $8,000 per year from the Choose Ohio First scholarship, with a guaranteed matching scholarship of at least $12,000 per year from Otterbein.  

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects careers for veterinarians and vet techs to increase at about 20% through 2031, and equine and large animal practitioners will be in particularly high demand. Otterbein’s Equine Science Department will recruit and mentor undergraduates with the goals of increasing diversity and reducing financial barriers to entering the veterinary field, while helping to alleviate the shortage of equine veterinarians and vet techs,” said Steffanie Burk, associate professor of equine science. 

Otterbein University currently has three additional Choose Ohio First scholarship awards including support for scholarships for Ohio students in nursing and mathematics, computer science, and STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) and STEMM education.

These scholarship programs support Otterbein’s work to increase access and affordability to students of all backgrounds, a mission supported by Otterbein’s President John Comerford.

“Access and affordability are key to Otterbein’s mission,” said Comerford. “The students in this program will add to the diversity of campus and help create a better learning environment for all students while we ensure our graduates are ready to meet the workforce needs of Ohio.”