It’s hard not to feel optimistic when talking to Avnee Mistry, even when she’s talking about daunting challenges facing the world.
She’ll discuss climate change or the threat of epidemics and Mistry does so with hope.
“Our generation is facing lots of new problems, but veterinarians can make a difference in more ways than we even know,” she says.
Mistry will soon be one of those veterinarians. The member of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2022 is working toward a career with a federal or state agency and hopes to focus on issues such as public health, disease control and the safety of the global food supply.
Empowering her journey has been the Michele M. and Ross M. Annable Scholarship. The scholarship is funded by a $5 million endowment from the Annables matched by $5 million from the R. B. Terry Charitable Foundation. The need-based scholarship covers up to half of a DVM student’s tuition and fees.
Mistry uses just the right words to describe the Annable Scholarship’s impact on her life.
“It has made a world of difference,” she says.
She comes to her global perspective naturally. Mistry’s parents were originally from Africa — her mom, Uganda; her dad, Kenya — but emigrated to England, where she was born in Leicester. They relocated to Naples, Florida, when Mistry was 6, and that’s where she grew up. Mistry says that when she was a senior in high school, she had the opportunity to begin seriously studying zoonotic diseases — diseases typically found in animals that can be transmitted to humans — and their implications for global health. When she graduated she went to the University of Florida, majoring in microbiology with the intention of attending the college of veterinary medicine there.
Then she came to NC State. While visiting friends in the area, Mistry took a student-led tour of the CVM. She loved everything about the college, from the dog’s head sculpture on the hearth to the faculty and staff’s caring, supportive attitude toward students. “It just felt like home,” she says.
While pursuing her interests in global health, Mistry has also immersed herself in community service projects. A commitment to service is an imperative for all Annable Scholars. She volunteers with Operation Catnip, an organization that catches, spays and releases between 200 and 250 feral cats to help control the stray cat population. She also volunteers with the Field and Fork Food Bank when she is a home in Florida.
The Annables launched the scholarship to also foster community service and leadership within the veterinary community. The scholarship’s financial assistance has helped her devote even more time to service projects while at the CVM.
For Mistry, the Annable Scholarship isn’t just about financial support. It’s about celebrating the spirit of generosity — and passing it on. That was made even clearer when she met Ross Annable at a recent CVM scholarship dinner.
“I was excited to hear how passionate he was about helping students. I hope one day I can do the same,” says Mistry. “I think the message to all of us is that you can do more to help others than you ever imagined.”
~Steve Volstad/NC State Veterinary Medicine