Advocate for Animal and Human Welfare
Alexis Roach is a veterinary student at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, where she quite literally embraces the college’s idea of creating an environment where “compassion meets science”. With a current focus on laboratory animal medicine, Alexis is working to ensure that animals remain safe and healthy as they contribute to the world of human medicine through methods such as research, education model development and education and training. Studying in such an environment harvests a curiosity for the unknown and a desire to expand one’s knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine, something that Alexis has been able to accomplish by taking selective’s and developing a close bond with her diverse class. Coming from a predominantly-black institution, Alexis was hesitant about the adjustment to North Carolina State, but has found her passion to be her driving force, encouraging others to not let ‘imposter syndrome’ get the best of them and instead, embrace the opportunity for new experiences.
Interview with Alexis Roach
Name: Alexis Roach
Veterinary school: North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine
My interest: At North Carolina (NC) State my focus area is in laboratory animal medicine, and I don't have much of a preference for species in that area. I also have a keen interest in mixed animal dentistry and theriogenology. I also just discovered that veterinarians are being hired consultants at airlines to assist with animal transportation. I may look into that also as a possible career. I still want to test the waters before deciding what I will pursue, however, my focus will be on laboratory animal medicine until then.
My favorite part of the semesters: My favorite part of the semesters have been when we finish our finals early and get to spend the last two weeks of the semester taking selective's, which are one of the things that I love about NC State's CVM curriculum. During selective's, many of us get to partake in hands-on experiences or learn through lecture more about a particular subject of our choosing. It is something I look forward to because it is a less stressful time as we have finished finals, we don't take any exams during the two weeks, the classes are pass/fail, and I get to learn about an area I have interest in within a low-stress environment.
My Inspirations: There have been many inspirations that have helped me decide and continue to pursue the field of veterinary medicine. For starters, witnessing my cousin, who is a veterinarian with his own private practice, open up his clinic helped to guide me to chose this career path. I took animal science for four years in high school, and my teacher at the time was very dedicated when it came to teaching us about veterinary medicine and animal health. The information I learned from her kept that spark going. Once I got into undergrad my professor and mentor who was a black female veterinarian became my biggest inspiration. I look up to her and desire to be like her as she has done so much for all of her students and the Black DVM community. She has supported me in so many ways to see me succeed and become what I worked so hard to be. My parents have been also been a huge inspiration for me. Hearing them say how proud they are of me keeps me driven to be the best that I can be every single day.
My favorite part of this journey: I would say my favorite part of this journey has been being able to gain a new family who I call my classmates. Coming from a predominately black institution, I had many fears of not being accepted by my classmates or feeling the need to conform to my new environment to fit in with the new crowd, making this enduring process more suffering. But for me, it has been the complete opposite of what I was expecting. I have been able to be myself around them and feel accepted within my community. It is already tough going through veterinary school. Nonetheless, going through it without the support of them would have been intolerable.
Advice to anyone of color (or just anyone) considering this career field: Don't let 'imposter syndrome' become the best of you! It is real and can happen to just about anyone. You made it where you are for a reason, and there is nobody that can strip you of that or tell you otherwise. Only the choices you make can determine where you will end up.