Veterinary students receive diversity leadership scholarships

Veterinary students Chris Ibarra Grevacio and Regina Meeks.
Veterinary students Chris Ibarra Grevacio and Regina Meeks, both recipients of national diversity leadership scholarships, pose together on Monday, April 22, 2024, on the Bustad Hall lawn on the WSU Pullman campus.

Third-year veterinary students Christopher Ibarra Gervacio and Regina Meeks were recently recognized with national diversity leadership scholarships from the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges.

Ibarra Gervacio was awarded a $20,000 scholarship for being selected as one of 15 students nationwide for the Chewy Veterinary Leaders Program. The Chewy scholarship recognizes third-year veterinary students from underserved groups who have demonstrated a keen interest in and aptitude for developing leadership capabilities.

Meeks was awarded the Merck Animal Health Diversity Leadership Scholarship, which includes $8,000 for her commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion within the veterinary profession and her passion for creating positive change.

“This scholarship means a lot because I have such a huge passion for diversity and leadership, and then going against students from all these different schools, and knowing they have a lot of passion for diversity efforts in the profession. It just makes me feel really proud of what I’ve done so far,” said Meeks, who is half Black and Taiwanese. “It makes me even more excited I can still make a difference and continue working toward the goal of diversifying this field.”

According to 2023 figures from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, white veterinarians account for nearly 90% of all veterinarians in the United States. Black veterinarians account for 1.3%, Asians 5.9%, and Hispanic or Latino are 7.9% of the field.

Ibarra Grevacio and Meeks agree — representing underrepresented groups in veterinary medicine is not only a motivator for them but also a responsibility to show others it is possible.

Representing underrepresented groups in veterinary medicine is not only a motivator for Ibarra Grevacio and Meeks but also a responsibility to show others it is possible.

“It’s been the same thing since I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian, you go to the vet, and there’s not a lot of them who look like you working in a clinic. But I get a special feeling when I see another Latino family come in. Just feeling that makes me want to make sure that I am doing what I can do to represent them and show them I am here, and they could do this, even though there’s not a lot of us right now,” Ibarra Grevacio said.

At WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, diversity, equity, and inclusion have been a top college priority since Dean Dr. Dori Borjesson took the helm in 2020, beginning with the hiring of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director Maurice Cottman and the formation of the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, which Meeks and Ibarra Grevacio are heavily involved with.

Meeks, who also attended WSU Pullman as an undergraduate, said fostering an inclusive environment at WSU is one of the big reasons she chose to stay at WSU for veterinary school.

“I had the opportunity to go back to California and go to vet school, but I really made a point to choose WSU. Not just for the curriculum we have that I really appreciate, but also the fact that I really wanted to make a difference in diversity and try to help influence future applicants that even though WSU’s vet school is predominantly white, there are still other people like us here, and we’re thriving. I know by coming here, I’m limiting myself from being around people who look like me, but I know that by being here I’m making a difference for future applicants.”

Next Story

Rising costs, AI worry American travelers

The Carson College of Business released a new report with insights into Americans’ upcoming travel plans, including motivations, budgeting habits, and other considerations.

Recent News

WSU Insider will be back Tuesday

The staff at WSU Insider hopes you make the most of your Memorial Day holiday. Fresh posting will resume Tuesday.

A fallen Cougar, at last home

Former Washington State College student and U.S. Army Captain Donald Froemke was finally laid to rest in August 2022 in Yakima.