Monadnock Humane Society Announces the Recipient of This Year’s Margaret D. Bell Scholarship award: Sarah DiRusso of Spofford, NH

three women holding an award with a dog at their feet.

Monadnock Humane Society (MHS), a 501(c)(3) community non-profit organization, is pleased to announce the 2021 winner of the Margaret D. Bell Scholarship award. MHS administers this scholarship fund and determines recipients with a review committee.  This year’s committee included MHS Executive Director Kathy Collinsworth, MHS Development Director Kelly Brigham-Steiner, and MHS Board member Robert Schaumann.  The scholarship amount awarded was $2,500. 

The Margaret D. Bell Memorial Scholarship fund was established in October 1988 in memory of Margaret “Peggy” Bell who was a lifelong advocate for animals.  Bell was devoted to her own animals and to helping improve the lives of animals in her community.  She was a strong supporter of Monadnock Humane Society, serving on its board of directors for many years. Bell wanted to see her passion for the welfare of animals continue in future generations. The scholarship fund is part of her legacy and was established to provide support to those making a lifelong commitment to animal welfare through a career in veterinary medicine.

To qualify for this scholarship, applicants must be from the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, and are pursuing either an Associate’s Degree as a Veterinary Assistant or a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.  Applicants must also indicate their intent to practice or be employed in the Monadnock region upon completing their studies.

The recipient of this year’s Bell Scholarship award is Sarah DiRusso. She had planned on a career in medicine as far back as she can remember. She chose veterinary medicine on the first day of a college class when her professor spoke of her work as an animal shelter veterinarian.  Sarah introduced herself to the professor after class, was invited to visit the clinic where she worked, and after spending time with two veterinarians, made the decision to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.  In preparation for this new journey, she took on leadership roles in professional clubs (she was vice president of the university’s pre-vet club), volunteered in the community, and worked at the clinic.  She applied for and was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the class of 2025.  

“Sarah has maintained a high level of professionalism during her time working at our veterinary clinic in Chester, Vermont. She is a team player who steps in whenever needed,” said Jaclyn Torzewski, DVM at the Rockingham Veterinary Clinic. “She is a hard worker with a self-starter attitude and she has the confidence and healthy outlook needed to be a veterinarian.”

Jerilyn Jacobs, DVM, Rockingham Veterinary Clinic, comments that, “Sarah has seen the wide variety of situations that veterinarians encounter in their work.  She appears to enjoy the challenges that veterinarians face every day.” 

“We’re so glad to be able to help the future generation of veterinarians in some way,” says Kathy Collinsworth.  “There is such a need for professionals in this field – especially in our area. We’re grateful to know that Sarah is planning to return to serve our community.” 

Sarah’s goal is to work in shelter medicine and participate in wildlife medicine in some capacity.  She intends to make her home and build her career in NH after getting her veterinary degree and passing the licensing exam, making an impact in the community where she grew up. For more information about the Margaret D. Bell Scholarship program, visit If you’re interested in donating towards this scholarship fund to keep it growing for future generations, contact Kelly Brigham-Steiner – or 603.354.4015. 

Monadnock Humane Society is a private, nonprofit organization that serves the Monadnock Region, which includes 44 communities. MHS cares for an average of 1,600 animals each year with a staff of 30 and the help of over 300 volunteers. Its mission is to strengthen the animal-human bond by promoting and providing for the well-being of animals. MHS receives no state or federal funding, and is not affiliated with any other agency or organization such as HSUS or ASPCA.  It is supported primarily by the generosity of those in our community. For more information, visit To get the latest news about MHS, follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).