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If you have been keeping up with my previous posts, you are aware that there have been significant changes in my life recently. I began as a vet student at the University of Pennsylvania, and I am now transitioning to a career studying science education. This week, I have an interview for a job position that I am so excited about. I feel like it would be something I truly would love to do on a daily basis.
The position is working for a non-profit that offers afterschool programs to underserved public schools. One of the programs they offer focuses on connecting these students to hands-on science and math programming. I will be sharing more about what happens with this job interview and my path to pursuing a graduate degree in education in blogs to come!
However, recently I received an email from a reader that could not be ignored. One of our EDL readers wrote me a touching email about her younger sister’s passion for animals. Her sister, Jeanette, is an animal lover just like I am, and she wants to become a veterinarian! The problem was that she could not find information about Latina veterinarians to provide Jeanette with more resources to pursue her passion. This is not surprising because there truly is a small number of Latina or Latino veterinarians. The percentage is well under 5%. This is appalling, considering that Latinos make up over 30% of our country’s population.
This is part of the reason that I felt a calling to work directly with minority youth learning science at the K-12 level. I believe having positive, fun and challenging experiences in learning science before college will have a major impact on a student’s opportunities to pursue science and medical careers, including being a veterinarian. I want to be part of the change that happens before a student is admitted to veterinary school, where I was one of the only Latinas in my class.
Reading about Jeanette’s dream of becoming a veterinarian made me think about how I would have loved to become a vet just so I could serve as a role model for young Latina students who wanted to pursue a similar path. But I know that this would not be right because my ultimate message to all of you EDL readers is that you should pursue your unique passion and follow the path that feels right for you.
I then realized that there is a lot I can still share. I was a pre-vet student in undergrad, volunteered for several animal organizations and worked at a small animal clinic. I applied to veterinary school and had the opportunity to visit some of the top programs in the nation before deciding to attend the University of Pennsylvania. I finished two years of veterinary school including many of the core courses, labs and clinic hours. I was very active on campus with clubs, conferences and student groups. I have a ton I can share!
So even though I will not become a veterinarian myself, I want to highlight how I prepared for admission to vet school and what it was actually like in my next blog. It truly is a wonderful career and I want to encourage any young student who is interested in following that path to learn more about it. I did not leave vet school because there was something wrong with the career. I left because it was not right for me. I want to be on the ground inspiring the next generation of science students who can become veterinarians. I want to see more Latino students in a class at the top veterinary schools, each following their passion to care for animals.
So Jeanette, this post is for you. Follow your dreams! If my experience can help in any way, I will always be willing to share it.