Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer - DVM 2003

2013 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award


Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer, Fort Valley, Va., was the 2013 recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award for her notable achievements since graduating from Kansas State University. The award was presented as part of the 75th Annual Conference for Veterinarians on June 2, 2013.

Dr. Aitken-Palmer earned her DVM and a master’s degree in clinical sciences, both from K-State University in 2003. She also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She is currently the chief veterinarian for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, in its Department of Conservation Medicine, in Front Royal, Va. Her work routinely takes her to China as she specializes in giant panda reproduction, health and conservation.

“It is an amazing honor to be named an Outstanding Young Alumnus, especially by Kansas State University,” said Dr. Aitken-Palmer. “K- State was always supportive of and fostered my interest in zoo and wildlife medicine, and it’s great to still have that support 10 years later. I expect with the educational excellence K-State offers their students and their willingness to encourage those of us interested in special species, in the future we will find many with roots at KSU making a difference for wildlife.”

“While it has only been 10 years since she graduated, we are very pleased to see how quickly Dr. Aitken-Palmer has advanced in her career,” said Dr. Ralph C. Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Her work with giant pandas will have both national and global impact. She is making a difference as a veterinarian and as a scientist, and we are excited to see what she will accomplish in the future.”

After graduating from K-State, Dr. Aitken-Palmer worked in Maryland as an associate veterinarian at Kenwood Animal Hospital and College Park Animal Hospital. Dr. Aitken-Palmer completed a zoological medicine residency with the University of Florida in Gainesville Fla., in 2011, which included specialized training in clinical zoo and wildlife medicine at White Oak Conservation Center and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.