Two RUSVM alumni were selected for the 2020 Alumni Awards for their outstanding achievements as veterinarians and community leaders. Dr. Stephanie Marks ‘09 is the recipient of the Rising Star Award and Dr. Rachel Fuentes ’11 is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.
The Alumni Rising Star Award recognizes an alumnus under 15 years post-graduation who has already achieved early career success.
Since graduating from RUSVM in 2009, this year’s recipient has been using her knowledge and experience to bolster the profession of veterinary technology. Having graduated from SUNY Delhi’s Veterinary Technology program in 2002, Dr. Marks worked for many years as a licensed veterinary technician and is intimately familiar with the vital role veterinary technicians play in our profession.
Once she completed her rotating small animal internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in Rhode Island, Dr. Marks worked for several years in general practice. During that time, she found a passion for educating the technicians she worked with every day. In 2015, when the position for small animal clinical instructor opened at Manor College in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, she felt this was a path worth exploring. Dr. Marks has taught courses in medicine, surgery, pharmacology, and clinical skills. She also helped launch the Veterinary Practice Management program, which allows vet tech students to obtain a bachelor’s degree focused on business management.
After four years as the small animal clinical instructor, Dr. Marks was promoted to Program Director for the Veterinary Technology program at Manor College. She has been instrumental in overseeing the renovation of the clinical labs, developing and implementing the program’s full integration onto Manor’s learning management system, and successfully leading faculty through teaching all courses online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award recognizes the success of an alumnus/a who has made significant contributions to his/her profession and industry while embodying the University's purpose, vision, and values.
This year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award is Dr. Rachel Fuentes, a 2011 graduate and New York City native. After graduation, Dr. Fuentes began working in a multi-doctor small animal practice in Queens. While working she realized that though she enjoyed the practice, one of her passions was to encourage the next generation of doctors to apply to veterinary school and excel within the program. Dr. Fuentes traveled throughout the United States to speak at student seminars and is proud to help give visibility to underrepresented people within our profession. Speaking with adult students, as well as elementary grade students, Dr. Fuentes has been a direct influence on increasing the number of quality applicants and subsequent graduates of RUSVM.
Back in practice, Dr. Fuentes realized there was an empty space in her veterinary toolbox. Adjunctive pain management for patients unable to find relief with conventional medication was the missing instrument. As a result, she found her way to TCVM and has not looked back. After completion of her Acupuncture Certification with the Chi Institute, she was able to integrate Western medicine with Eastern philosophy and techniques into her management of patients. In 2016, Dr. Fuentes started AcuPets, a mobile veterinary acupuncture practice, to complement her general practice work.
In 2017, Dr. Fuentes' passion for encouraging youth to dream big and apply themselves to achieve success materialized with the formation of the Fuentes Foundation. The Fuentes Foundation, named for her father, is a 501c3 charitable organization that accepts donations to be awarded to college students of Latin American descent who are pursuing the sciences with an interest in vet med. She, along with many RUSVM alumni, continue to encourage and inspire the next generation.
Learn more of the RUSVM Alumni Awards here.