The veterinary school experience of a first-generation Haitian-American

Brand new veterinarian Dr. Stéphie-Anne Dulièpre shares some of the challenges she faced as one of very few people of color at her veterinary school.

For Stéphie-Anne Dulièpre, a recent graduate from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and community outreach chair of the Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association, the journey to becoming a veterinarian, while rewarding at times, was met with some serious challenges.

"In terms of my experience coming in [to veterinary school], I think of it as being both a racial and cultural minority, and I was hit with that from the get-go."

Dr. Dulièpre, a first-generation Haitian-American, was born in Queens, NY and moved to Haiti when she was 3 months old. She lived there until she was 11, then moved back to New York. She always had a love for animals but never dreamed of becoming veterinarian. In fact, up until age 17, she strongly considered becoming an architect. But after some serious soul searching, she realized that her passion was right under her nose.

"Subconsiously, I think I always wanted to work with animals. I just didn't know what that looked like," she says, adding that just six years ago she learned that her uncle in Haiti was a veterinarian.

Growing up around animals in her family home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dr. Dulièpre was always responsible for taking care of the turtle doves, chickens, goats and other animals. Her family pets were dogs, but she was also known for trying to rescue stray cats in the community.

Fast forward several years: All the stars have aligned, she was accepted into veterinary school and today Dr. Duliepre works as a public health veterinarian with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In the video below, Dr. Duliepre shares some of the obstacles she faced as a minority in a predominately white veterinary school.