Goodnight Spotlight: Kourtni Curry
Since the third grade, Goodnight Scholar Kourtni Curry ’22 has manifested and worked hard towards her academic goal of becoming a veterinarian. Now only one semester from graduating NC State with a degree in Animal Science with a concentration in Veterinary Bioscience, Kourtni has accomplished one more step towards the ultimate goal of veterinarian school…but Kourtni isn’t stopping there. Read our latest Goodnight Scholars Program Spotlight to learn how Kourtni hopes to “develop a veterinary education program for Black and Brown high school students” and positively impact the large animal staffing shortage that is affecting the global supply chain.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us about yourself and your journey into the Goodnight Scholars Program.
Kourtni Curry ’22: I am currently a senior at NC State, and as I enter my final semester of college, I can attest to how much I have enjoyed my experience. During my time in Raleigh, I have met some of my closest friends, tried some excellent food, and picked up a few new hobbies, such as painting, yoga, and cooking. I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina with my parents, two sisters, and many pets. I participated in many different clubs and activities in high school and strived to do my best academically. I recognized the significance of my hard work and involvement in my community when I received an invitation to apply to the Goodnight Scholars Program.
I did not hesitate to apply for the opportunity, as I saw the great value in being a part of such a diverse and close-knit community. When I received my invitation to attend interview day, I could not stop dreaming about what could be ahead of me. Touring Hunt Library, meeting the other talented candidates, and hearing the current scholars speak so highly of the Program at interview day magnified my eagerness to attend NC State. I remember sitting in my high school anatomy class when I received my acceptance letter, I was overcome with emotion. Not only has the Goodnight Scholars Program provided financial support, but it surrounded me with a group of caring and like-minded individuals that changed my entire undergraduate experience. It has allowed me to see myself step out of my comfort zone, explore new interests, and renew my passion for continuing to learn more about myself and the world around me.
What is your major? How have you been able to explore that area of study during your 4 years at NC State? What made you decide to enter this field?
I am majoring in Animal Science with a concentration in Veterinary Bioscience. Since the third grade, I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. My father’s love for animals, wildlife, and nature greatly influenced my interest in the animal sciences and continues to fuel the passion and love I have for the field of veterinary medicine.
When I was initially accepted into the Animal Science program at NC State, I was focused on studying companion animal medicine. Although I will always love spending time with our traditional furry friends, the variety of opportunities at NC State allowed me to explore my interest in farm animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, and camelids. The variety of electives offered by the Animal Science department allowed me to curate my academic plan towards what I desired to learn more about. One of the first on-campus organizations I became involved in was the NC State Animal Science Club. Through this club, I gained hands-on animal experience by working the club’s milk booth at the NC State Fair, showing dairy cattle, and volunteering at agricultural service events within the triangle area. By networking with other students and professional staff members at NC State, I also gained unique veterinary experience during my shadowship and internship with two mobile farm animal veterinarians.
As you enter into your final semester, what are some of the ways you feel like you’ve grown? In what areas do you find yourself wanting to grow more?
After a challenging first semester at NC State, I continued to learn how important it is to be patient with myself each year. It is easy to become caught up in how fast-paced college may seem at times, but I recognized the significance of listening to my mind and body. This included adopting better health and wellness practices, such as exercise and exploring new hobbies, which helped me find separation from my identity beyond being a student. This idea now compliments my desire to practice mindfulness actively. Although the concept of being present and fully aware continues to present its challenges, it has changed my outlook on how I decide to live my life now and how detailed I plan my future.
How have you remained grounded during your time in college? Who/where do you pull support, inspiration, and encouragement from when you experience a challenge?
My family has provided unconditional love and support during my time in college. Although our interests and fields of study differ, there is always something I could learn from each of them. I was privileged to have two older sisters who went to college before me, so my transition from high school was a little easier with their advice and guidance. Especially during the challenging times of COVID-19, my family and closest friends have kept me grounded and motivated when I began to feel the lack of community connectedness.
What impact do you wish to have on the world of Animal Sciences?
As a future ruminant livestock veterinarian, I hope to use the transformative leadership skills I have gained throughout college to be one of the pioneering leaders in rural veterinary medicine. Recent data shows that the shortage of large animal/food animal veterinarians has been one of the biggest challenges to the US veterinary profession. With the cases of medical service shortages, farm animals are put at risk of catching and transmitting diseases that can negatively affect their health. Consequently, this could also affect human health and food supply. As a mobile veterinarian, I want to provide the valuable and reliable service every farm should have access to.
While working in underrepresented communities, I would like to share my knowledge as a veterinarian with the youth of historically marginalized populations. As a Black woman, I have recognized the significance of showcasing successful depictions of Black women within STEM fields. In the future, I hope to develop a veterinary education program for Black and Brown high school students interested in farm animal medicine. Connecting interested students with the resources to educational and networking opportunities will provide them with a head start to their pre-veterinary career and help attract more students to this area of need in veterinary medicine. As a Goodnight Scholar, I was privileged to be a part of a STEM-based scholarship program that valued students from diverse and unique backgrounds. The Goodnight Scholars Program always prides itself on building leadership to enact positive change in our world by bettering our communities, and I hope to display these same values in my work.
Photography Credit: Rhiannon See, Goodnight Scholars Program