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Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University offer scholarships to Paiute Tribal Members

In 2019 Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University (SUU) partnered to create the nation’s first university-endorsed animal services leadership program, consisting of coursework and academic tracks for associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SUU.

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Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, and Paiute Tribal Councilwoman Corinna Bow sign a scholarship agreement for Southern Utah University and Best Friends Animal Society’s Contemporary Animal Welfare Services. Photo courtesy of Best Friends.

Best Friends and SUU continued to evolve their Contemporary Animal Services focused learning opportunities with the ceremonial signing of a scholarship agreement on March 7, 2023, at the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah Tribal Administration Building in Cedar City, Utah. The agreement was signed by Tribal Chairwoman Corrina Bow from the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (PITU) and Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society.

Image via Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah website.

“The Tribe is very excited about this collaborative partnership, and the positive benefit the investment in educational opportunities will be for our communities. We are excited for the scholarship recipients and look forward to the difference they will make to benefit our communities,” said Shane Parashonts, Tribal Administrator for the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.


“Animal Services is an essential component to community wellbeing and celebrating companion animals in our lives. Best Friends is honored to work closely with the Paiute Tribe and Southern Utah University to make these learning and development opportunities available,” said Julie Castle, CEO for Best Friends Animal Society and a 1994 graduate of Southern Utah University. “The goal is that graduates will bring this knowledge back to their communities to lead the way in the creation of programs and services to help both community members and animals.”


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“We are pleased to be working with Best Friends to further extend animal services educational opportunities,” said Melynda Thorpe, SUU Community and Professional Development executive director. “This partnership builds careers, builds degrees and benefits our communities.”

Annual scholarship offerings include:

  • Four scholarships for the Principles of Contemporary Animal Services Certificate, offered twice a year and upon completion awarding three CEU credits applicable to SUU degrees.

  • Four scholarships to micro-credential animal services courses: Dog Lifesaving Course, Cat Lifesaving Course and Studies in Contemporary Animal Services, offered twice a year and upon collective completion, awarding three CEU credits applicable to SUU degrees.

  • One scholarship each year for five years for the SUU Online General Studies bachelor’s degree with a focus in Animal Services.

Application deadline for the scholarships is March 28, 2023, and the recipient announcement will be March 31, 2023. Please apply for the scholarships here: https://pitu.gov/bestfriendsscholarship/.

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