A VOICE for All

Diversity helps improve the workplace. This is something that is spoken as common knowledge and even taught in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine curriculum.

Dr. Brandy Duhon Speaking Despite knowing the benefits of diversity, the veterinary medicine profession is 94 percent white (a statistic taken from an email sent out by one of our vet school counselors earlier this week).

The need for more diversity and cultural education to further advance the field of veterinary medicine is what drove me to join organizations like the Council of Diversity and Professionalism (CDP) and Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE).

Many of the vet school organizations, as one would expect, are related to animals; however, VOICE works to facilitate an inclusive environment through education and outreach about different cultures, religions, and abilities.

In the past, we have had many presentations and tables about different Picture of Dr. Duhon's Presentationcultures and religions, but I noticed we had never mentioned the role of people with disabilities in veterinary medicine.

Luckily, I was fortunate enough to find the perfect person to help speak about this topic two years ago. Dr. Brandy Duhon, a clinical instructor of shelter medicine and surgery at Louisiana State University, left a lasting impression on me, not only because she was the only veterinarian I have ever met who had no hands, but also because of her larger than life personality.

Bringing Dr. Duhon to Texas A&M was a huge feat that I could have not accomplished without the help of the rest of the VOICE officer team, but all of that hard work was totally worth it. The meeting was ultimately a success, drawing more than 100 attendees!

So many people after the meeting thanked me for bringing Dr. Duhon to Texas A&M.

Veterinarians are often told that their best diagnostic tools are their eyes and their hands, but that isn’t necessarily true!

Dr. Duhon’s willingness to be persistent and think outside of the box are what I believe to be her best tools as a veterinarian. Since her end result is the same, it doesn’t even matter that she does things different than the textbook.

Dr. Duhon mentioned that her success has been due to the support of her family, classmates, and mentors who were willing to let her experiment with different ways of doing things.

Picture with Dr. Brandy Duhon I really hope that this meeting contributes to eliminating any underlying bias and pushes my colleagues to realize that people with disabilities, just like anyone else, have so much potential to do good work and advance the profession.

Furthermore, I hope that the veterinary students with and without disabilities feel encouraged to keep trying to learn new things in the face of adversity, even if they don’t at first succeed.

Dr. Duhon could have easily given up when she lost her hands at a young age because of meningitis, but her positive attitude and love for learning helped her persevere and become the person she is today.

I encourage everyone to apply these messages to their own life and become a voice for all.

If you really want it, you’ll make it FIT

In veterinary school, it can seem like studying and learning can consume your entire life to the point where you do not have time for anything else. It is a really intimidating feat to try to eat, sleep, shower, clean, and stay fit, all while being at school all day and studying at night.


Luckily, there are a lot of different ways I try to incorporate fitness into my life. There are many places I utilize—like the Student Recreation Center on main campus, the Wellness Room in the veterinary school, the intramural fields, and even my gym at my apartment complex.


It is all about just making time to do it.

I love to change up my workout routine, so I definitely take advantage of free workout events such as the free week for classes at the Rec Center or the veterinary school-sponsored yoga.

This semester I actually found a class that I found really interesting—hip hop. After trying it, I ended up paying for the class for the whole semester, which really motivates me to go for that hour twice a week. I love the class so much that I even convinced one of my classmates to join me!

The class really challenges me because the style is so different than what I got classically trained in, Bharatanatyam (a major form of Indian classical dance). Oddly enough, the class also is helping me with my body awareness, which made me improve on my CPR for my clinical skills class!


Hip hop hooray!

Here Come the Vets, All Dressed in White (Coats)

My second year is already about to end and reality is setting in that I will be starting clinics in the near future!

Jane V.This Friday we are having our White Coat Ceremony. Unlike a lot of professional programs in which students get their white coats within the first year, or before, they start school, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences has students wait until the end of their second year to receive their white doctor’s coats.

I have been to several of my friends’ White Coat Ceremonies, but now it is finally time for me. I feel like I can appreciate it even more now than I would have at the beginning of the school year.

I thought I had worked hard before veterinary school just to be admitted, but that was nothing compared to veterinary school itself. Surviving two years has been no easy feat, so it is exciting to have something tangible to celebrate as our second year comes to a close.

What is almost just as exciting is that we were able to work with our faculty to reschedule our Friday classes, so we could take the ENTIRE day off to spend with our loved ones. I am so excited for my family and friends to come to College Station for this milestone in my life.

The cherry on top is that we do not have a test the following Monday! It is definitely a much-welcomed break after the slew of tests and before the onslaught of finals.

Then, just a month from now, it will be time for my last summer vacation ever! It is all going by so quickly!

For now, I will settle on putting on my white coat and looking like a veterinarian and then in just two years, I will finally get to put on that white coat and be Dr. Varkey.

Touring my own School

As a veterinary student, I am in an environment in which I am constantly learning, so it is a nice change in pace to teach someone else.

As an Ambassador, I get to teach people about the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) every time I give a tour. Currently, as I am writing this, I just finished my third semester of veterinary school, and after this week I will be finishing my first full semester of being an Ambassador!

Being an Ambassador has been such a joy and has been a nice change in pace because I get to greet and interact with people outside of my classmates!

I went to Texas A&M for four years to get my Bachelor of Science degree in biomedical sciences before I was accepted into veterinary school. I had taken most of my classes in the old veterinary school, but the beautiful new building was open for veterinary students and undergraduates, alike, to utilize at the beginning of my senior year.

Even though campus has been changing around me constantly, I felt like I knew the campus and its values already.

As I was getting trained to be an Ambassador, however, I was so shocked to learn about some of the features in the new Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex that were so well thought-out. Of course, I am not going to mention those features right now, because I do not want to ruin any surprises if you do come on a tour!

Furthermore, I realized that I had never peered inside or knew anything about the hospitals. Giving my first tour was so amazing, because I was so excited to share all the new things I had learned about.

It just goes to show you that you could be somewhere for more than four years and still be able to learn more about that place. I can’t wait to learn and share more with my future tour groups as I continue to be an Ambassador for the school!