News Release Distributed 10/16/15
BATON ROUGE , La. – Casey Kenny considers cats her first love. The freshman in the LSU College of Agriculture wants to work with small animals, exotics and wildlife as a veterinarian, but she plans to work toward finding a cure for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus while in college.
Kenny is one of five freshmen at LSU to receive the prestigious Penelope W. and E. Roe Stamps IV Leadership Scholarship. With the scholarship comes full cost of attendance for four years, with up to $14,000 for enrichment opportunities, such as research.
Penelope W. and E. Roe Stamps IV began the scholarship program in 2006 to give exceptional students an extraordinary higher education experience. The Stamps Family Charitable Foundation now gives to more than 40 colleges and universities.
Kenny plans to use the money to finance her research on feline viruses.
“I’ve seen these viruses, and they are terrible,” Kenny said. “I hate that so many cats are suffering from these diseases, which may have cures that have not been explored.”
During high school, Kenny began shadowing a veterinarian in her hometown of Montgomery, New York. Later, she was hired to work in the clinic. She said feral cats would come into the clinic with feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
With no cure, they would just have to treat the symptoms of the virus. She said the viruses are easily spread among cats.
“You can vaccinate cats against feline leukemia, but it’s not 100 percent guaranteed,” Kenny said.
Kenny said she developed an interest in medicine after undergoing several surgeries on her wrist. She said she wanted to take what her doctors did for her and apply that to animals.
Kenny’s grades and scores could have taken her anywhere, but she said she was looking for a big state school. She visited LSU and was invited to apply for the Stamps scholarship. Earning the award made her decision easy.
The freshman is majoring in animal, dairy and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture. She said college life suits her. She enjoys the flexible schedule and has already grown to love her new home.
“I really love LSU. Life is totally different here,” she said.
In addition to her interest in animals and medicine, Kenny also enjoys music. She is a drummer, plays saxophone and bass guitar and recently took up the guitar.
She spent three years in high school working on an independent research project through the State University of New York at Albany. She looked at the effects of drumming grips on range of motion and best grips to prevent fatigue and injuries.
Kenny also served as the battalion commander of her junior ROTC at her high school.
Now at LSU she is working in a biological sciences lab looking at avian anatomy as part of her work study. She has joined the pre-vet club and block and bridle in hopes of getting experience with large animals.
The Stamps scholar didn’t come to Baton Rouge alone. She brought one of her beloved cats.Tobie Blanchard