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College awards RED scholarship to 2024 cohort

Now in its third year of funding, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine continues the RED (Reducing Educational Debt) program, awarding three new D.V.M. students tuition-free education for their final two years of their educational program.

Joyce Lu
Joyce Lu, D.V.M. Class of 2026. Photo: Provided

Joyce Lu, Class of 2026, is a daughter of immigrant parents and was raised by her single mother. Lu says she came to Cornell after learning a valuable lesson about constantly comparing herself to others in the field of veterinary medicine. After being rejected from a dream internship while seeing a fellow peer get accepted, she reached out to congratulate him even though she was envious — leading to them becoming fast friends. “I never imagined that an impulsive text would teach me such an important lesson about seeking human connection rather than viewing people as obstacles, and these are the values I want to exemplify with this scholarship – especially in a profession wrought with burnout and competition,” says Lu. “I want to make veterinary medicine more than just curing diseases and prescribing treatments; I want to foster a welcoming community that benefits both animal and human lives by being an empathetic person who encourages people to care about those around them.”

Olivia Perkins
Olivia Joy Perkins, D.V.M. Class of 2026. Photo: Provided

Olivia Joy Perkins, Class of 2026, has been deeply aware that only two percent of veterinarians are Black.That statistic, coupled with the sentiment of wanting to live her life worthy of the sacrifices of those who came before her, weighed on her heavily and fueled her work ethic. “However, I eventually realized I could acknowledge and be thankful for those sacrifices while pursuing my own passions and desires,” says Perkins. Personal tragedy and struggles during her veterinary studies presented challenges, but Perkins has been able to successfully navigate her past and present emotions and embrace her veterinary college journey and looking forward to her future. “While not the most lucrative, pursuing a career in public practice will be most fulfilling, as I embody the concept of One Health through my work in the U.S. and abroad, maintaining animal health and mitigating disease outbreaks.”

Elizabeth Poirer
Elizabeth Poirier, D.V.M., Class of 2026. Photo: Portrait

Elizabeth Poirier, Class of 2026, is a first-generation college student who navigated the college application and financial aid process without guidance. Her personal struggles with poverty made her dream of becoming a board-certified exotic veterinarian a difficult one, but she persisted through scholastic achievement and hard work. “Receiving the RED scholarship celebrates my fortitude and alleviates significant financial burdens, enabling me to pursue advanced education and enhance my capabilities as a veterinarian and role model,” says Poirier. “By specializing in exotic animal medicine, I will fill a crucial gap in veterinary care, offering expertise in the unique health needs of diverse species. Moreover, I aim to establish a low-cost initiative offering accessible and affordable exotic pet care, a need that I have not seen fulfilled before.”

Written by Lauren Cahoon Roberts