Forget the car, the swanky holiday or the latest iPhone. An Ashburton student, who’s just won a $2,500 scholarship from industry association Agcarm, has more practical uses for the cash.

Imogen Redpath will use her winnings to buy a new stethoscope, textbooks and wet weather gear for her calving placement. But most, she says, will be put aside until the fifth year of her Bachelor of Veterinary Science degree – to help fund her practice placements.

The Massey University student says that she is grateful to Agcarm for this scholarship, which is a “huge help financially”. It allows her to focus on her studies and “relieves a lot of the financial stress that comes with studying for the degree, both on me and my family”.

Always sure of her chosen career path, the twenty-one-year-old says “I have wanted to be a vet since I was nine year’s old.

“Animals have always been a huge element of my life and I’ve always lived among a variety of animals.”

In the veterinary field, “you always feel like you’re making a positive contribution.

“There is something new and different every day – it’s ever-changing and evolving – and you are helping people, animals and farmers.  In one day you could go from birthing calves, vaccinating cows, to a dog with a broken leg,” she enthuses.

Redpath iterates the importance of animal medicines. “A lot of the work that veterinarians do would be made impossible without the use of veterinary pharmaceutical products.” She emphasizes the need for veterinarians, farmers, pharmaceutical companies and regulatory bodies to work together to avoid resistance issues and ensure the continued effectiveness of antimicrobials. “Otherwise the health of both humans and animals is ultimately going to be compromised.”

Vaccinations are also “extremely important” for protecting animals and people from life-threatening diseases.  She is a keen advocate of increased investment and research into veterinary medicines.

Redpath is unsure what type of animal care she will specialise in, but she has a keen interest in mixed practice veterinary care. “There are so many career options in being a vet.”

Redpath will always call Ashburton home, but is currently residing in Palmerston North where she is halfway through her degree – which has come with some sacrifices.

Redpath explains that it’s tough to get accepted into the degree and it is a lot of work once you are. With her head in a textbook every evening, she says “there’s no time for a social life”. She’s also had to push the pause button on her favourite sport, but says she is “getting a bit more of a life back.”

Imogen is a keen footballer, having played all the way through school and socially for the first two years at Massey. She’s hoping to find time to play competitive football this year.

Mark Ross, chief executive of Agcarm, said the association is pleased to contribute towards the future of such a high calibre student.

“Imogen had an outstanding application. We were very impressed with her work ethic, determination and the dedication she showed for animal welfare,” Ross says.

Agcarm offers two scholarships a year to support education and to raise awareness about careers in Agcarm-related industries.

The scholarships are an example of industry initiatives led by Agcarm to provide safe and sustainable animal health and crop protection technology for the future of New Zealand, and educating the community about the industry’s contribution.