Posted October 18, 2021

To meet the growing need for veterinarians in the United States, a passion and understanding of veterinary medicine needs to be fostered in younger generations.

With this in mind, the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine has developed a partnership with the Detroit International Academy for Young Women, a K-12 school in Detroit, Michigan, to provide students with engaging experiences in STEM disciplines. The partnership creates a pathway for students in grades nine through twelve to embrace veterinary medical education, provides support to potential future BIPOC veterinary professionals, and aims to help the field of veterinary medicine reach population parity in terms of underrepresented groups.

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Now, animal nutrition company Purina has supported this relationship with a $10,000 grant, which will be used to establish the Purina Resource Room at the Academy, where students can learn about STEM and healthcare disciplines, most specifically veterinary medicine.

“We are beyond thankful to Purina for supporting this initiative,” says Dr. Hilda Mejia Abreu, associate dean of the College's Office of Admissions, Student Life, and Inclusivity. “Their help will develop educational pathways for diverse populations and widen access to veterinary care for marginalized communities.”

In the resource room, students will hear lectures about specialty fields and hot topics in veterinary medicine, engage in animal ethics discussions, and complete hands-on experiences.

The resource room will also provide space for high school students to connect with veterinary and veterinary nursing student mentors from the College, who can explain what it’s like to pursue a career as a veterinary professional, how financial aid can make attendance attainable, and what they can do in high school to become a qualified candidate.

Academy students will also enjoy field trips to learn about the care of animals, and summer programs will be planned to grant additional exposure.

The College and Academy plan for the room to open to students in spring 2022.