The Summer 2022 semester will be the first that the Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals (AAVMP) has an official presence on the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet) campus. Both here and with the organization’s broader scope, the AAVMP strives to create a community for Asian veterinary professionals and to establish a veterinary field that reflects the diverse communities served globally.
That sense of community at Ross Vet has been an important part of the journey for the AAVMP Chapter’s newly established executive board, which includes Carmen Tan, Class of ’24, Aubrey Yip, Class of ’25, and Jenny Kim, Class of ’25.
“When you move to St. Kitts, having that sense of belonging and starting point of something in common with somebody can feel a lot like home when you need it,” said Yip, the chapter’s first vice president.
“I want people to feel like AAVMP is somewhere they can go and really find themselves and be able to find their own culture,” said Tan, who took on the leadership role right away in organizing all the application components for official club status and volunteered to serve as the president. “For me, I did not grow up around much Asian culture. My parents wanted me to continue our own route and our own traditions, and they wanted to immerse themselves into the American culture when they came to the United States. They wanted me to be more American, so I really wanted to be part of this club so I can learn more about my own and so many other cultures.”
Tan’s parents immigrated from Malaysia to New York City, just as Kim’s parents did from Korea, and Yip’s from Hong Kong to Orange County, California. All three are first-generation Americans and an example of how there are many subcultures that fit within how students identify as Asian. “When we all first met, we talked about how even within the Asian community we are very different, and that is something that we really wanted to stress about this club is that there is no gatekeeping here … Having this community and every unique path of how we have had Asian culture influence our lives is extremely important,” said Yip.
There are about 70 other students who currently follow the club on their social media accounts that the executive team hopes to convert to official members as they continue to grow their campus presence. The club leaders also know that growth must extend beyond their time as the inaugural executive board: “I hope this community can extend even after graduation, and I personally want to stay connected with our chapter, the AAVMP as an organization, and hopefully try to bring something valuable to our members now and in the future,” said Kim.
While the club is still getting its footing on campus and understanding the details of being a Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) club, they are excited about the opportunities and activities already being discussed. They have invited Asian veterinarians, Ross Vet alumni, and other prominent figures in the Asian community to share their stories with the club; Asian holiday celebrations on campus are being planned; and, of course, anything that can be planned around enjoying some Asian cuisine.
“I do not want the AAVMP to just be for Asians,” said Tan. “I want to be completely diversified and a club for whoever is interested in Asian culture and wants to immerse themselves in our culture and learn more about it.”