Name: Laci Taylor
Medical Title/Credentials: Veterinary Student (3rd Year)
School/Program: Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Favorite Hobby: Fishing and Traveling
Why did you choose this profession? My earliest childhood memory is four-year-old me sprawled out on my grandma’s living room couch watching a Big Cat Diary marathon on Animal Planet. As a child, I was obsessed with both Animal Planet and National Geographic. Through their TV programming, I learned a lot about the importance of biodiversity which sparked my interest in conservation. I later became interested in medicine after having my own experiences on the operating table as a patient. This inspired me to combine my two interest areas of conservation and clinical medicine and pursue a career as a veterinarian in the field of zoological medicine. While I am not sure exactly where I will end up, I have a special interest in aquatic animals and conservation with communities.
Biggest Inspiration: An immigrant of Grenada, the Isle of Spice, my mother instilled in me the value of embracing my culture and my diversity. It was waking up to the sound of steel pan music playing every Sunday morning, the smell of plantains cooking on the stove, and giving up my bedroom every few years to my grandmother when she visited us in the States. My mother always encouraged me to value the things that make me different and to give back to others. It’s why she is my biggest inspiration. When I was younger, she encouraged me to participate in international service trips to Jamaica, Haiti, and South Africa and while in these places, she challenged me to fully immerse myself in the culture to get a lived experience of what life is like day to day for the people in these regions. She is a huge reason why I am interested in doing international conservation work with communities and making sure that the people that live in these regions are involved in the conservation efforts to make them more sustainable. My mother truly has a heart of gold and I can only hope to be half as kind, selfless and resilient as she is.
Current Passion Project: Throughout my journey to veterinary school, the number of Black veterinarians I encountered were few and far between. Only 2% of veterinarians are Black and this lack of representation is one of many reasons why there are so few aspiring Black veterinarians. As you can imagine, it can be difficult to envision yourself in a field where most people do not look like you. That is why I spend most of my free time mentoring students of color who aspire to become veterinarians. It is my hope that I can provide them with at least some of the resources needed to succeed in the veterinary profession.
Fun Fact: I can lick my elbow!
How do you get over the troubled times? When presented with a tough situation, I immediately do one of three things. 1) Pray 2) Meditate 3) Immerse myself in nature. All three of these things manage to keep me calm and centered. Once, I have had time to really analyze the situation, I plan. I try to focus on what I can control and try not to spend too much time focusing on the things that are out of my control.
Do you have any advice for others interested in entering your field? Be kind to yourself. The road to veterinary medicine is rarely a linear one and you’ll find yourself having to pivot and adjust. Remember that that’s okay! You’ll reach your goal eventually!