Each year, as one more way of fulfilling a commitment to the next generation of veterinary medicine, Hillís Pet Nutrition, Inc. grants one lucky third year student a chance to have up to $25,000 of his or her senior year paid for through the Hillís Big Win Scholarship. When Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine third year veterinary student Lindy Dixon attended her schoolís Hillís Big Win Scholarship on campus event, she didnít realize it would eventually lead her to winning the grand prize.

ďI had to pull strings to get to attend the Big Win event at my school because I was scheduled to be on call that day at our campus veterinary hospital,Ē says Dixon. ďI was ecstatic when I found out my name had been drawn and I would be heading to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Convention for the final event.Ē

To be eligible for the scholarship, veterinary students attended a Hillís-sponsored Big Win meeting at their school, after which one winner was selected from each school. From January 10 through May 30, fellow students had the opportunity to log into HillsVet.com/vetstudent and vote for their school.

Hillís then provided each of these college level winners (30 total) with an expense-paid trip to the AVMA Convention to take part in continuing education, networking, exploration of the latest cutting-edge developments in animal health, and the Student AVMA Delegate Luncheon. At the luncheon event, Mississippi State was among the highest percentage of veterinary student votes this year, and Dixonís name was drawn, winning her the 2009 Hillís Big Win Scholarship, an announcement that came as quite a surprise to Dixon.

ďWhen my name was called, I couldnít believe it,Ē says Dixon. ďI never thought in a million years I would win, and I am incredibly thankful to my classmates for voting and to Hillís for this amazing gift.Ē

Hillís believes veterinary students are a vital part of the future of veterinary medicine, and on the verge of making an impact on the pets of tomorrow. The Hillís Big Win doesnít stop with just helping one studentís tuition. In fact, the scholarship seeks to help both the winning student as well as his or her school, and Dixonís Student AVMA chapter will receive a $5,000 gift and traveling trophy from Hillís.

ďWe are happy to present Lindy with this scholarship and to present the Mississippi State Student AVMA chapter with funds to help support the veterinary student activities on campus,Ē said Mark Kimsey, D.V.M., academic affairs manager at Hillís. ďWe hope this program opens many possibilities for Lindy and provides much needed funds for Mississippi State on campus programs.Ē

Dixon is from Hilton Head Island, SC, and after graduation she plans to go into practice with her father, Kirk R. Dixon, D.V.M., at Hilton Head Veterinary Clinic, doing what she loves most, creating a better quality of life for dogs and cats. She has a special love for cats of all kinds, especially the lions and cheetahs of South Africa, and plans to take time off soon to spend time caring for them in the wild.

Hillís plans to continue this program again next year, and the 2010 Hillís Big Win Scholarship Challenge will begin in January. Students eligible for the program will receive updates on campus toward the end of this year.

Hillís Pet Nutrition, Inc. manufactures Hillís(R) Prescription Diet(R) brand pet foods, therapeutic pet foods available only through veterinarians, and Hillís(R) Science Diet(R) brand pet foods sold through veterinarians and finer pet specialty stores. Founded more than 60 years ago with a unique commitment to pet nutrition and well-being, Hillís is committed to its mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. Hillís produces high-quality, great-tasting pet foods owners can trust and give to their canine and feline companions as part of a veterinary health care team recommendation. This ultimately improves patient health and the health of the practice.

For more information about Hillís Pet Nutrition Inc. and Hillís Evidence-Based Clinical Nutrition(TM) visit HillsVet.com. TF09C846