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K-State Today

December 17, 2020

Recent veterinary graduate creates fund to support student parents

Submitted by Piper Brandt

Mary Post with her husband and daughter

A new fund in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine will support veterinary students who are also parents.

The fund, in alignment with the missions of the college, is committed to creating an environment for students that ensures good communication, productive collaboration, mutual respect, diversity, integrity and honesty. With the help of staff and alumni, steps have been taken to establish the Veterinary Parent’s Excellence Fund.

James Roush, interim associate dean for academic programs and student affairs, was approached by class of 2020 graduate Mary Post to start an initiative for fellow student parents. Post experienced the challenges of raising a family while studying to become a veterinarian firsthand and wanted to start an initiative to help others feel more supported within the college. She said she could not have navigated the challenges of student life without the support of her teachers, fellow students and other student parents.

"Having a family in veterinary school can make it harder to build connections with your classmates and comes with unique challenges for both school and family life," Post said. "As soon as I signed my first contract for work, I reached back to the school to see how I could support forming a group to help connect student parents across all classes together so new generations of students could have the same support I did."

Roush said that when Post came to him, he thought back to his own days as a student. The Auxiliary to the AVMA was a dominant organization that helped support families within the college during the 1990s, but according to Roush, the college chapter eventually died out without his noticing until Post brought up the idea of starting a support fund.

"At the time when the profession was majority male, I remembered the women’s auxiliary being a big deal within the college," Roush said. "As times have changed, the college somewhat lapsed on support for spouses and parents, hence why Mary very generously found the need to establish this program immediately following her graduation."

The Veterinary Parent’s Excellence Fund was established in September 2020, and Roush and Post have high hopes for the fund and its future. Roush said there have already been meetings to discuss the growth of the fund and its uses within the student parent community.

"While for now it isn’t large enough to do more than allow some small events and encourage that community," Post said, "I hope that someday it will be successful enough that it can provide scholarships to help offset the extra costs that student parents incur so that their small families get the best start as they prepare to aid their communities as public health servants and trusted family vets."

For those who might be interested in contributing to the fund, visit giving.ksufoundation.org/campaigns/17477/donations/new.