Christy Daugherty, class of ’24, had it instilled in her at a young age to challenge herself and pursue her dreams. Growing up in a small apartment in Santa Monica, California, Christy learned from her parents, Marilyn and Grady Daugherty, countless examples of hard work and determination to do what it takes to create a better path.
Despite Marilyn working as a nurse and being surrounded by the medical field, Christy never envisioned it as a career path for her. Her dream was always to be an art or English teacher, but a family puppy’s sudden illness sparked what would ultimately lead Christy to enrolling at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet). A visit to the vet was too costly to budget, so Christy began researching her pup’s symptoms and at-home treatments for Hypoglycemia. As she recalled, “within minutes she was playing and totally fine. That moment encompassed so much for me, and I wanted to feel that over and over again.” After this moment, Christy began working in dog boutiques, clinics, and started taking pre-veterinary courses throughout Los Angeles-area community colleges. In 2020, she enrolled in Ross Vet’s Vet Prep program and is now midway through the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program. Along the way, one of the most important pieces of her journey has been missing.
Her father, Grady Daugherty, came from a low-income family in small town Texas. Wanting to create a better life for himself, he left for California and became the first member of his family to go to college, which created the driving force behind wanting Christy and her siblings to go to college themselves. “He always wanted a better life for all of us,” recalled Christy. Just before Christy would receive her first degree in college, Grady suffered a heart attack and was admitted to the hospital to await a triple bypass. He would never make it out. “He was one of the most genuine and smartest guys I’ll ever know. He’d give everyone the shirt off his back. It hurts a lot knowing he missed and will miss these milestones. Even though he’s not here, I know that finishing vet school and seeing this through still makes him proud,” said Christy.
RUSVM EMPOWER SCHOLARSHIP FUND
Among the many milestones Christy continues to achieve is being named a recipient of Empower Scholarship Fund’s RUSVM Empower Ambassador Scholarship. The Empower Scholarship Fund has awarded more than 1,000 scholarships to students attending Ross Vet and Adtalem Global Education Institutions - American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Chamberlain University, Ross University School of Medicine and Ross Vet.
“Scholarships allow a little breathing room so that students aren’t completely overwhelmed by the cost of their education,” said Christy. “Calling my mom and being able to tell her that I was awarded a scholarship was one of the best feelings ever. She does everything in her power to give my siblings and I lives that are full of comfort and happiness. It is her life’s work to do whatever it takes just to make us happy. She has been so supportive and helpful to me on this journey to become a veterinarian. She’s worked so hard in her life to make sure that mine is easy and she does everything in her power to make sure I'm able to follow my dreams. I owe everything to her. I was proud of myself [receiving the scholarship] and felt like I had this big present to give her. It felt wonderful to have great news to give her. There aren’t many feeling better than that.”
Christy chose to pursue a career in veterinary medicine because, in some ways, it was harder than what she was good at. She embraced the challenges, much like her father before her, leaving his family to achieve his dream. There are a lot of parallels to their journeys, with Christy not having returned home to her family since her coming to Ross Vet two years ago. When she returns to Santa Monica, she will be finished with school and finally fulfill the dream she and her parents always knew was possible together.