Mission's Junior Vets Program is a unique STEM education program for high school students from diverse backgrounds and works to inspire them to aspire to careers in veterinary medicine, where they can have a life-long impact on both pets and people.
The veterinary industry is one of the least diverse in the U.S.: 90% of veterinarians identify as white. This is a dismal statistic that veterinary associations and schools have been attempting to tackle for years with limited success. Research shows the opportunity gap in STEM careers starts with the variety of careers that young people are exposed to. The options that young people of color feel that they have the agency to pursue, and what others deem appropriate for them, has a long-lasting effect. It’s critical that every child, especially young people of color, learn about career options early and ways to access those roles and pursue those careers.
In 2022, Mission Animal Hospital created our Junior Vets Program, in partnership with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association to inspire future veterinarians and create opportunities for high school students from diverse backgrounds to gain a first-hand view of veterinary medicine. Its goal is to be a hands-on STEM learning opportunity for students of color and to inspire students to consider a career in veterinary medicine. What is more inspiring than saving a life? During their tenure in the program, students will assist in saving the lives of countless pets.
We expose the Junior Vets to all aspects of veterinary medicine through an average of 420 hours over 8 months, working directly with our medical teams, assisting in diagnosing and treating sick and injured pets. Students also participate in preventative care, learning about vaccines as a protocol to protect against disease such as parvovirus, rabies, and leptospirosis, normal vital signs, and preventative health testing, such as fecal and blood tests. Students will gain skills in problem solving, using x-ray and ultrasound technologies, laboratory skills, anatomy and physiology, and more in a curriculum that teaches over 150 specific skills in veterinary medicine.
Through this unique partnership, Junior Vets brings together the proven work-study program from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School—which specifically serves diverse student populations—with the on-the-ground STEM experience of Mission. The Junior Vets program hosts students from their freshman-senior work-study program. The school’s population is composed of approximately 98% students of color, with an average family income of $43,700.
Frank is a junior at Cristo Rey and one of Mission's 2022/23 Junior Vets.