Chelsea Chiv, Class of 2024, Honored with the 2023 Merck Animal Health Diversity Leadership Scholarship
Congratulations to Chelsea Chiv, Class of 2024, for being selected to receive a 2023 Merck Animal Health Diversity Leadership Scholarship from the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). As one of 18 student recipients nationwide, Chiv has demonstrated exemplary promise as a future leader and significantly contributed to enhancing diversity and inclusion in academic veterinary medicine.
In her award letter, the AAVMC’s CEO Andrew Mccabe noted that Chiv’s selection is a measure of her commitment to addressing inequities and underrepresentation in veterinary medicine, and advocating for social justice. Chiv has demonstrated this leadership since her undergrad years in Animal Science at UC Davis where she was involved in student leadership as president of Pre-vet Students Supporting Diversity (PSSD) and helped with research as part of the Zhou Lab. She also participated in student run clinics such as Knights Landing One Health Clinic and Mercer Clinic for Pets of the Homeless during the school year, and volunteered at a small animal clinic during the summers. After graduating in 2019, Chelsea took a gap year and worked at a small animal private practice near her hometown in Southern California before starting veterinary school in 2020.
PSSD’s mission is to help pre-veterinary students from underrepresented and/or disadvantaged communities on their path to veterinary school and beyond. To accomplish this, PSSD hosts workshops where students can learn practical skills from veterinarians and vet students including surgical skills, radiology, physical exam basics, etc. During Chiv’s tenure, these workshops were greatly expanded to facilitate exposure and understanding of various aspects of the veterinary profession such as pathology and radiation oncology. In addition to workshops, Chiv organized quarterly field trips to local zoos, sanctuaries, and aquariums for students interested in wildlife and rehabilitation.
Chiv returned to the PSSD mentorship program during her first year of veterinary school and shares her advice on succeeding in undergrad and getting into vet school. One of her first mentees recently joined Class of 2026. Chiv also joined the school’s SAVMA officer team as Junior Delegate in order to gain a better understanding of organized veterinary medicine and to affect change on a national level. Locally, the SAVMA chapter has consistently made strides towards advancing DEI from scholarships to establishment of campus clubs like the Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals. As part of Chiv’s national duties, she worked on the Public Health and Community Outreach Committee which encourages students to promote veterinary medicine in disadvantaged communities.
Now, as a third-year veterinary student, Chiv continues to work with pre-vets as a staff advisor with the undergraduate campus’s Health Professions Advising office. In her position, she helped guide more than 1000 undergraduates to a career in veterinary medicine via one-on-one advising appointments, bootcamps, workshops, and a weekly class.
“Being a staff advisor has been the most rewarding part of my career thus far,” Chiv said. “As much as I have helped the students, they have also helped me realize my passion for mentorship."
Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Programs Karl Jandrey said in relation to Chiv’s contributions: “Transformative leaders do not just continue with previous initiatives and continue on the status quo. They redefine, implement, and leave their groups stronger than when they started.”