Vet Med Students Receive Army Scholarships


Contacts: Tracy Ann Raef, Communications, College of Veterinary Medicine, 515-294-4602

December 3, 2013

Iowa State veterinary students Joe Thomas and Anthony Lisankis have been friends since their first-year in veterinary school, but recently they share another bond. Thomas and Lisankis were accepted in to the U.S. Army’s Health Professionals Scholarship Program (HPSP.)

The HPSP gives students in accredited medical, dental, veterinary, psychology and optometry schools the opportunity to have 100 percent of their tuition covered and an additional monthly stipend. This scholarship is offered to both students in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Potential candidates can begin the application process after their first semester in school. The process is vigorous consisting of around a 60-page application.

“The application is fairly time consuming,” Thomas said. “You aren’t just going to fill out the application to take a chance. It’s pretty serious. I think they look for leadership experience and grades.”

Thomas was the president of the weight lifting club at Iowa State and vice president of his fraternity, Sigma Pi. Lisankis was in the U.S. Army before entering veterinary school and thinks his prior military service gave him an advantage in applicant pool.

“I think it’s important that you’re a well-rounded applicant,” Lisankis said. “It seems like they put a really big emphasis on academics, but they like to see things from your past that include leadership, too.”

While Lisankis doesn’t recall when he first thought of applying for the scholarship, he liked the idea of rejoining the U.S. Army as a veterinarian.

Thomas heard about the program through his brothers, who are also graduates of Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I always wanted to join the military, but my parents didn’t let me join right out of high school,” Thomas said. “This was a way to be a veterinarian and be in the military. They do a lot of stuff with public health, which is an area I am interested in.”

Lisankis describes the scholarship program, as an opportunity that allows him to practice veterinary medicine in ways most civilian veterinarians would never get the chance to.

“I’ll get to practice veterinary medicine in a lot of places in a short amount of time,” Lisankis said. “I’ll get to work with soldiers, pets, military working dogs, livestock, and have the opportunity to work with marine animals.,” Lisankis said.

After they graduate in 2016, Thomas and Lisankis will enter active duty in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps with the rank of Captain. They owe three years of active duty and five in the Army Reserve, although Thomas is interested in staying in active service longer.

Both of these students are unsure of what the future holds, but both show interest in possibly getting a PhD.


Written by Margarita Landeros, a senior at Iowa State University majoring in journalism and sociology.