Vets of All Colors Brings Opportunities to Minority Students
Friday, October 9th, 2020
With the tagline “Pets are all colors; their vets should be, too,” a new nonprofit organization is working to diversify the veterinary industry. Vets of All Colors was founded by veterinarian Ian Scholer and his wife, Megan, to bring awareness of - and opportunities in - the veterinary industry to local minority students.
The program’s mission is simple: Vets of All Colors will partner with local schools to provide students of all ages with an awareness of the field of veterinary medicine through educational outreach, and access to the field through three types of academic scholarship opportunities for local minority graduating seniors.
"Meg and I were talking about the lack of diversity in the veterinary field and how, as a business owner, my staff reflects my applicant pool,” said Dr. Ian Scholer, a veterinarian at Hill Top Animal Hospital in Augusta. “It began a discussion about awareness of the profession in Augusta and left us wondering how many bright minds our field is missing because students aren't aware of the opportunities that exist."
Vets of All Colors reaches pre-K and elementary students by giving them veterinary playsets. Kindergarteners to 12th-graders will have access to a virtual field trip series, which features local animal hospitals and their staff. High school students can shadow at Hill Top Animal Hospital and apply for academic scholarships.
Scholarships will be awarded to individuals who have an interest in exploring the field of veterinary medicine. Applicants must be African-American graduating high school seniors in the Augusta area who are currently attending classes in the Richmond County or Columbia County school districts.
The scholarships are:
Veterinary Assistant Single-Course Scholarship: A single online course through Augusta Technical College; no minimum GPA is required to apply.
Veterinary Assistant Diploma Program Scholarship: A multi-week online course, including an externship, through Penn Foster University.
Veterinary Technician Associate Degree Scholarship: A four-semester online associate degree program through Penn Foster University.
"A friend taught me that it's important for children to see role models who look like them. We developed our program for her children - and all children - who may want to enter this field,” Megan Scholer said. “Our K-12 outreach features diverse veterinarians and staff to inspire all children of all demographics, and this first year's academic scholarships will be for the least-represented group in veterinary medicine: Black/African Americans. With our community's support, we will offer scholarships for all minority applicants in the years to come."
For more information, including scholarship requirements and to apply, how to donate and for merchandise, please visit VetsOfAllColors.org and find Vets of All Colors on Facebook.