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Being BIPOC in Aquatic Veterinary Medicine: A Panel Discussion

December 3, 2021 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

The AAFV Student Committee proudly facilitated “Being BIPOC in Aquatic Veterinary
Medicine: A Panel Discussion” on Friday, December 3rd , an event recognizing the significant
need for increasing diversity and promoting intiatives related to diversity and inclusion within
our profession. The event event was extremely successful with over 200 registrants and an
amalgam of pre-veterinary students, veterinary students, and aquatic veterinary professionals in

Our six wonderful panelists, Dr. Akinyi Carol Nyaoke, Dr. Ari Fustukjian, Dr. Eva Marie
Quijano Carde, Dr. Karisa Tang, Dr. Lester Khoo, and Dr. Roy Yanong all shared their
experiences as being a person of color within the veterinary field and their perspectives as being
aquatic veterinarians. Despite microaggressions, frequent dissuasions from naysayers, and
“imposter syndrome,” they were all able to overcome these challenges and follow their love for
aquatic veterinary medicine and haven’t regretted it.

Thankfully, they feel that the community of aquatic veterinarians has been very welcoming but
do agree that more must be done to promote initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
While more discussions must be had regarding this matter, we discussed the importance of
current aquatic veterinarians to mentor Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students
even beginning from elementary/middle school and getting involved within their local
community to spread awareness of aquatic veterinary medicine. Other advancements include
creating internship/externship opportunities specifically for underrepresented communities and
providing financial assistance for any educational opportunities to limit barriers that are faced.

At the end of the panel discussion, we highlighted important resources for aspiring aquatic
veterinarians such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium Externship by Dr. Mike Murray and NOAA
Externship by Dr. Meghana Parikh designed for underrepresented 4th year veterinary students. In
addition, BIPOC veterinary professionals and aspiring veterinarians are welcome to join the
Association of Minority Zoo & Aquarium Professionals (AMZAP) and Minorities in Aquarium
& Zoo Science (MIAZS) which provide free membership and student resources, as well as a
mentorship program and job/internship lists in an effort to advance minority representation
within the field.


December 3, 2021
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm