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Wilkins Receives Inaugural Samantha Lin Memorial Scholarship

Erin Wilkins
Erin Wilkins, a member of the NC State CVM's class of 2021, is the first recipient of the Samantha Lin Memorial Scholarship. Photo by John Joyner/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Erin Wilkins remembers Samantha Lin very well. Lin was one of two study coordinators from the CVM class of 2020 who helped tutor veterinary students from other classes. As another aspiring surgeon, Wilkins, a member of the class of 2021, sought out Lin’s study sessions. 

“She was always willing to help,” Wilkins says. “She was always prepared, and she wanted all of us to succeed.”

Last month, Wilkins was named the first recipient of the Samantha Lin Memorial Scholarship, selected because she shares Lin’s passion for surgery.

“I knew how much she meant to the class of 2020 and what it meant to them to have this scholarship to honor her legacy,” Wilkins says. “To be chosen for a scholarship named for someone who was as admired and respected as Sam is humbling.”

Lin was a vibrant force at the CVM. Frequently honored for academic achievements, she was smart, funny and kind. She also found time to serve as a class officer and volunteer at CVM public events. 

It’s been just over a year since the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine was shaken by the news that Lin had died in a traffic accident in California. She had just turned 25.

Samantha Lin, CVM Class of 2020
Samantha Lin. Photo by Nathan Latil/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Stunned and heartbroken, the CVM community was left searching for a way to honor Lin. Soon a memorial scholarship in her name was endowed. 

“This scholarship reflects the legacy Sam left as a dedicated student, caring classmate and rising star in veterinary medicine,” says Jeff Huckel, the CVM’s director of student services. “I hope that future students learn Sam’s story to know what an indelible mark she left on the NC State CVM and the veterinary profession. I miss her every day.”

Laura Nelson, CVM associate dean and director of academic affairs, says Wilkins arrived at the CVM as a first-year student with her guide-dog-in-training from the Guide Dog Foundation, Nelson says. Her dog became an early emblem of the class of 2021 — a mascot, companion and project all in one. She has continued to train other guide dogs during her time at the college. 

“Like Samantha Lin, Erin embodies the kind of enthusiasm that leaves a legacy,” says Nelson. “It is comforting to know that Erin and future Lin Scholars will help us to remember Sam.”

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine

You can help support the extraordinary students at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine during the annual Day of Giving on Sept. 16. To contribute, go here