The Department of Agriculture salutes students headed to veterinary school

We salute future veterinarians! — Lychrissa Harris, Alessandria Aikerson-Russell, and LaTroya Scott.

Three Department of Agriculture students — Harris, Aikerson-Russell, and Scott—are all headed to veterinary school. They have matriculated through the undergraduate and graduate degree animal science program under the obsequies of many professors, including Dr. Cassandra Vaughn, assistant professor of animal science and University veterinarian.

Dr. Vaughn, is excited to announce that three of her students have been accepted into veterinary schools of medicine. Lychrissa, LaTroya, and Alessandria have been accepted into Tuskegee University, Louisiana State University, and Purdue University, Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2021, respectively.

The stories of these students are outstanding.

Lychrissa Harris

Lychrissa, a Wesson, Mississippi native, who is graduating in the Master of Animal Science program, chose Alcorn after being convinced by Alcornites Kendra Armistad, librarian at Wesson High School, and Dr. A. Olly Neal, veterinarian, in Atlanta, Georgia that Alcorn State University was the place to earn her undergraduate degree in Animal Science.

“They were correct and Lychrissa has excelled. She was a charter member of Alcorn's Epignosis Chapter of the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, vice president of the Animal Science Club, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, and a regular Dean's Scholar,” says Vaughn.

“My professors being very involved and keeping me on track has really prepared me for my future. It’s like a family relationship where they encouraged me and continued to keep me updated on anything that could help me in my career field,” states Lychrissa.

Utilizing the hands-on experience she has acquired, Lychrissa began a Human-Animal Bond Laboratory to help undergraduate Animal Science students become more familiar with animal behavior, practice routine husbandry techniques, and make the farm more animal-friendly to the public, adds Vaughn. “I was blown away when Lychrissa approached me with the idea of the Human-Animal bonding sessions. Wow… to give back in such a way. It validated what I try to teach the students—each one, teach one,” adds Cassandra.

This fall, Lychrissa will enter the Tuskegee College of Veterinary Medicine in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Alessandria Aikerson-Russell

Alessandria, is an undergraduate animal science major who, chose Alcorn for its rich family history and traditions. While here, she has been inducted into the 2016 Mortar Board College Senior Honor Society. She is, also, a member of the Animal Science Club, Alcorn Women’s Track team, and a regular Dean's Scholar. Alessandria, is a native of Lafayette, Indiana.

“Alcorn has given me an outlook to accept people and be more open-minded. The education has, also, prepared me for what I want to do,” she expresses.

“Alessandria has maintained her interest in exotics since our first meeting. When we had our Exotic Expo, Alessandria was front and center. I'm not a reptile person, but Alessandria was right at home with all those critters and she can have them!” laughs Vaughn.

Alessandria aspires to be an exotic veterinarian specializing in zoo medicine.

To reach that goal, Alessandria will be retuning to her home state, to attend Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette.

LaTroya Scott

LaTroya, a graduate student who hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was influenced to attend Alcorn State by both her aunt and Vaughn.

“LaTroya's aunt made contact with me about her niece who wanted to be a veterinarian. Yes, LSU is in her backyard, but she wanted to attend Alcorn. I then met her at the High School Day and was impressed. She has lived up to my expectations,” states Vaughn.

During her stint at Alcorn, LaTroya was awarded the 2014 Department of Agriculture Student of Year, and she served as members of the Pre-Professional Program, Sigma Chi Iota Academic Honors Society, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and Animal Science Club. She is, also, a charter member of Alcorn State Epignosis Chapter of the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society and a regular Dean’s Scholar.

“Alcorn has given me the tools of hands-on experience, so I’ll be prepared for veterinary school. Alcorn’s undergraduate and graduate curriculum in animal science is very informative. It over prepares you for real world in animal science,” states LaTroya.

LaTroya was accepted into both the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. However, she decided on Tuskegee and will enter the University in the fall.

According to Vaughn, Alcorn’s Department of Agriculture is known for their students entering veterinary medical schools on the first application. Since Vaughn has been at Alcorn, she has had four students become veterinarians- Drs. A. Olly Neal, Selena Chandler-Taylor, Dava Rossum and Krista Miller.

“I am so proud of each of these young ladies. They will be my fifth, sixth and seventh students to become my professional colleagues. As evidenced by my other students who are thriving veterinarians, our Animal Science curriculum well-prepares students to matriculate successfully through the rigorous veterinary medicine program,” boasts Vaughn.

In a show of support and mentorship, Vaughn further acknowledges, “While I will miss them, I am proud of the growth I've seen in them and very excited for their next chapter in life. I hope they know that I, their other professors, and the Department of Agriculture are super proud of them, and our doors are always open to assist them in any way we can.”

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