CVM Student Named Recipient of 2024 Merck Animal Health Diversity Leadership Scholarship

Published 4/15/2024

I’yuana Morris
I’yuana Morris

I’yuana Morris, a second-year student at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, is a recipient of a 2024 Merck Animal Health Diversity Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship honors 21 second- or third-year students in good academic and professional standing at an American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges member institution and recognizes those who have contributed to enhancing diversity and inclusion through course projects, co-curricular activities, outreach, domestic and community engagement, and research, and who have developed an early reputation for influencing others to be inclusive. Each honoree receives a one-time scholarship payment in the amount of $8,000.

Morris, who completed her bachelor’s degree at Alabama A&M University, was recognized for her work to promote diversity across different organizations. She served as president of the Mizzou chapter of the League of VetaHumanz, an organization that is committed to engaging with under-resourced communities to provide access and support to youth who aspire to veterinary careers. In this role she had the opportunity to serve as a role model, introducing children to STEM-based veterinary education and connecting them with professionals who can nurture their dreams. She increased organization membership at Mizzou from only three students to 49 this year.

Morris also served as the vice president for Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE), a student-run organization that seeks to increase awareness, respect, and sensitivity to differences among all individuals and communities in veterinary medicine. Additionally, Morris worked as an intern for Girls IMPACT, an all-girl minority student summer program, where she prioritized securing female speakers from diverse STEM backgrounds.

Morris said receiving this scholarship is an honor. “To know your efforts are being acknowledged, and thus confirming the impact they have made, is very fulfilling,” she said. “My hopes are that receiving this award will inspire other veterinary students and clinicians to continue the work toward diversifying veterinary medicine. I feel that this feat cannot be achieved overnight, nor can it be achieved by a single person’s actions. Only with our continued collaboration will there be evident changes. By focusing on the exposure of young, underrepresented communities to veterinary medicine, it will bring us one step closer toward a more inclusive and representative profession.”

By Nick Childress