Annable Scholar Opening Doors to Encourage Diversity in Veterinary Medicine

Tahj Boston had no Plan B: She was going to be a veterinarian.

But as an undergraduate at Delaware State University, Boston discovered that there was very little information available about how to apply to veterinary school.

That’s when a second passion was born.

Now a member of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2022 pursuing a career in pathology, Boston is also dedicated to opening the door to careers in veterinary medicine for students from historically black colleges and universities, like her alma mater.

“I plan to work closely with HBCUs to help bridge the diversity gap in veterinary medicine by preparing undergraduate students for the application process and providing valuable opportunities prior to the application process,” she says.

The Michele M. and Ross M. Annable Scholarship is helping to support both Boston’s professional goals and dedication to community service. The scholarship, funded by a $5 million endowment from the Annables and matched by $5 million from the R.B. Terry Charitable Foundation, covers up to half of a DVM student’s tuition.

The scholarship also encourages volunteerism and community service, which is ideal for Boston who is brimming with ideas and interests. She began a project to collect and distribute materials to help pre-veterinary students at her alma mater and North Carolina A&T University prepare for the graduate entrance exam.

“In college, as a pre-veterinary student I watched classmates change majors because they had minimal guidance about veterinary medicine, which led to discouragement. There were also students who were oblivious to when to apply to vet school, which set them back and eventually made them change their career path,” she says. “It’s a multilayered problem and hard to put into perspective, but it’s a cycle that needs to be broken and there are pipelines that need to be built.”

Boston has also has with the mobile clinic managed by Kelli Ferris, CVM assistant clinical professor of general practice, to perform basic veterinary services to underserved communities, and has spoken to groups of middle, high school and pre-veterinary students, coaching them on how to prepare for and apply to college.

Boston knows that all of her work has been helped immeasurably by the support she has received from others, especially the Annables.

“It’s been just great, and I’m very grateful. To know that the Annables are dedicated to our education means so much,” she says. “It means a lot to know that there are good people out there who want to help. Now we have to pay it forward.”

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine

Photography for this story was taken prior to enhanced COVID-19 safety and mask protocol established for CVM faculty, staff and students, as well as the general public. The latest information on our protocol can be found here: https://cvm.ncsu.edu/coronavirus-update-nc-state-veterinary-hospital/