Texas A&M Student Ready To Embrace The Full Spectrum Of Animal Care

Story by Harley Nokes ‘24, VMBS Communications

Amiri Fowler Cadena listening to a sloth's heartbeat
Amiri Fowler Cadena examines Michael Jr. Slow Poke Sloth at the Texas A&M Winnie Carter Wildlife Center.
Photo by Jason Nitsch ’14, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Over the course of four years as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) student at the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS), Amiri Fowler Cadena has been guided by a thirst for knowledge and desire to discover opportunities within the field of veterinary medicine.

While her veterinary journey has included ups and downs, Cadena has remained engaged — so much so that she now embodies a deep love for all aspects of animal care and will extend her love into the profession once she walks the graduation stage on May 8.

Embracing Versatility In Veterinary Medicine

From a young age, Cadena had a passion for animals, dreaming of a career as a zookeeper working with exotic species; however, a pivotal moment during her high school years changed the course of her ambitions. 

“I was completely convinced that I was going to be a zookeeper, but then the high school I attended offered a veterinary program where students could shadow at clinics,” Cadena explained. “It was then that I discovered my passion for veterinary medicine.”

Through those shadowing experiences, Cadena discovered a new path within the field that resonated with her deeply.

“I remember always seeing cool cases, especially with the veterinary dentist,” Cadena said. “I saw her do dog braces, root canals and other general procedures, and I thought it was all amazing. At that point, I was particularly drawn to dentistry and surgery.”

Amiri Fowler Cadena
Amiri Fowler Cadena
Photo by Jason Nitsch ’14, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

After completing her undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences at Texas A&M University in 2019, Cadena took a gap year to work as a veterinary technician in a small animal clinic in Austin. This experience further fueled her passion for veterinary medicine and motivated her to explore more specialties within the field. 

Upon being admitted into the VMBS’ Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Class of 2024, Cadena eagerly participated in leadership roles and extracurricular activities, which not only enriched her experience but also shaped her into the confident and compassionate student she is today.

“I am very involved because I enjoy planning and being active in events,” Cadena said. “Coming into veterinary school, my passion for exotic animals led me to join the Zoo, Exotics, & Wildlife organization (ZEW) as a member my first year, working my way up to vice president my second year and president my third year. I am also the vice president for the Class of 2024, and I did a lot in helping plan class barbecues and Fur Balls (the annual DVM formal event) as well as setting up the mentorship program for incoming first-year students.”

Showcasing her exceptional planning and organizational skills, Cadena also took on the role of treasurer for student chapters of three professional organizations: the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (SCACVP), the American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA), and the Latinx Veterinary Medical Association (LVMA).

Beyond academic and leadership demands, Cadena sought out additional extracurricular activities for both enjoyment and to more deeply explore different specialties within veterinary medicine, joining student organizations for dentistry, emergency and critical care (SVECCS), feline practitioners (SCAAFP), and surgery (SVSC)

“Before vet school, I was only into a small portion of what veterinary medicine can be, but now, with all of my new interests and experiences, I have been able to learn so many new things that I never understood or even knew were possible,” Cadena said. “I found that there are very few things in veterinary medicine that I don’t enjoy, so I came to a point where I realized I didn’t want to limit myself to just one specific area — I wanted to be able to do it all.”

Lessons Learned And Future Goals

Amiri Fowler Cadena examines a kangaroo
Amiri Fowler Cadena examines a kangaroo at the Texas A&M Winnie Carter Wildlife Center.
Photo by Jason Nitsch ’14, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

While she was enjoying her veterinary experience, navigating veterinary school wasn’t always easy for Cadena, so she sought support from various campus resources that helped her cope with the demands of the program.

“In my first year of vet school, I struggled to sleep because of stress and worry, but visiting our (on-site) counselors was one of the biggest resources that helped, especially since their services are free to A&M students,” Cadena explained. “I also sought help and advice from our veterinary faculty because they are all very nice and willing to talk to you. They are always willing to set you up with different opportunities that you would probably never think of or knew existed.”

Now, in her fourth year of veterinary school, Cadena made a deliberate decision to prioritize her clinical studies, taking a step back from some of her extracurricular commitments. Despite this adjustment, she continues to play a significant role as the vice president of the Class of 2024 and serves as a student member of the VMBS’ White Coats group, a team of veterinary student leaders who help with events such as orientation, the White Coat Ceremony and graduation.

“I have done better in veterinary school than I ever thought I would because I actually like what I’m doing and I enjoy the subjects,” Cadena said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have chosen Texas A&M for my veterinary education.”

As her veterinary school journey draws to a close, Cadena prepares to join Town & Country Veterinary Hospital in Austin following commencement. The position will allow her to work with large animals, small animals and exotics, providing her with the flexibility to pursue her varied interests.

“Since coming to vet school, I have greatly expanded my knowledge of all species because the more I did, the more I realized that I love almost everything,” Cadena said. “Now, I’ll be able to share all that I have learned with my new clinic, broadening not only my own scope of practice but the scope of those around me as well.”


For more information about the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of VMBS Communications, Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu, 979-862-4216

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