CVM Students Receive Inaugural PetDesk Equity Scholarships

Three NC State College of Veterinary Medicine students are among the first recipients of the new PetDesk Scholarship for Equity in Veterinary Medicine, designed to support groups historically underrepresented in the veterinary field. 

Receiving the $20,000 scholarship: the class of 2021’s Shayla Jackson, the class of 2022’s Kier Way and the class of 2024’s Safari Richardson. The CVM is one of two schools receiving the first round of scholarships from PetDesk. PetDesk’s mission is to extend the lives of pets by fostering better relationships between pet parents and their veterinarians. They bring this to life through their workflow management and patient engagement platform. 

Preference is given to, “candidates with a personal investment in equality, equity, and social justice for the Black community,” according to PetDesk. 

“Our college and the veterinary profession owes PetDesk a huge show of appreciation,” says Allen Cannedy, CVM director of diversity and multicultural affairs. “Their investment in our future will not only change the lives of the recipients of their scholarships but will surely help diversify our profession. 

“Thank you, PetDesk, for supporting our underrepresented minority students and for your sincere generosity.” 

The students were overwhelmed and grateful to receive the awards. “Receiving this scholarship allowed me to lower my debt burden for the year,” says Richardson. “Thank you to PetDesk for naming me as a recipient of this scholarship and advocating for underrepresented minorities in veterinary medicine through this scholarship.”

Way adds, “When I found out about the scholarship, I was at a loss for words. It was an unexpected blessing. When I told my mother about it, she was crying.” 

Jackson and her family were also stunned by news of the award. “This scholarship is proof that there are sponsors rooting for me even when I’m not in the room,” she says. “I want to thank my sponsors and mentors for creating a space for me to flourish. It is my dream to continue molding that space so that future students may have even greater opportunities.”

A commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity in veterinary medicine is one of the CVM’s four core values. The college has both an Office of Diversity and faculty, student and staff-led diversity committee. Last year, as the country continued to cope with violence targeting people of color, the CVM launched safe spaces for Black, indigenous and people of color to support each other on campus. 

[PetDesk’s] investment in our future will not only change the lives of the recipients of their scholarships but will surely help diversify our profession. 

The PetDesk scholarship is one of several at the college to support underrepresented minority veterinary students, including the Tracy Hanner DVM Scholarship Endowment, the University of North Carolina Veterinary Education Access program and the Dr. Alfreda Johnson Webb Endowed Scholarship. 

To learn more about PetDesk and their additional work toward equality in the veterinary industry, go to

~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine