GIVING BACK - A passion for animals. A passion to serve.
An opportunity to pay it forward.
By Callie Rainosek '17 | Vol. 2 Issue I
As a first-generation college student, David Marquez, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Captain, admits that he struggled with his transition to college. However, the mentorship and support he received from the regents’ scholars program made all the difference.
The Regents’ Scholars Program at Texas A&M assists first-generation college students in reaching their educational goals. As a Regents’ Scholarship recipient, Marquez was able to succeed academically while building a community with other recipients.
From an early age Marquez dreamed of the day he would become a physician, but after attending a high school geared toward careers in the medical field and gaining experience in hospitals, he realized that human medicine was not for him. He then began volunteering at a small-animal hospital where he found his calling.
“The doctors I worked with were compassionate and empathetic, and I genuinely loved helping all of their patients,” Marquez said. “It was then that I decided I would pursue veterinary medicine at Texas A&M.”
After applying and being awarded the Regents’ Scholarship his senior year of high school, Marquez knew he was one step closer to fulfilling his dream of attending one of the best veterinary schools in the country. Marquez’s dream involved hard work and dedication to his major (biomedical sciences), but that did not stop him from exhibiting his natural leadership skills outside of class.
While being an active member in the Pre-Veterinary Society and serving as a Regents’ Scholar mentor and vice president of the Regents’ Scholarship Organization, Marquez also managed to get admitted to Texas A&M’s professional veterinary program after only three years as an undergraduate. In all of his undergraduate accomplishments, Marquez gives thanks to the Regents’ Scholars Program that gave him the support he needed to propel his future career.
“The Regents’ Scholars Program provided me with mentorship, support and motivation to do the best that I could in my pre-veterinary program,” he said. “I was able to focus on classes and not worry so much about the financial burden that stops many first-generation students from even considering college.”
As the only veterinary school in Texas and one of 30 in the country, Texas A&M’s veterinary program is highly competitive. The program requires a strong life sciences background with prerequisites such as organic chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology. Candidates’ applications are analyzed for leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and hands-on experience. A series of in-person interviews then solidifies who will be admitted.
Marquez’s education in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences gave him experience working with a variety of animals such as horses, cows, pigs, dogs and cats. By the third year of vet school he was taking courses outlining the treatment of exotic animals such as birds, reptiles and even zoo animals. Although Marquez enjoyed working with them all, he chose to focus his attention on companion animals like dogs and cats.
Marquez received the Armed Forces Health Professional Scholarship to fund the last three years of his education. Upon graduation, Marquez was the only student in his graduating class to join the military, a decision he says was always, “a natural calling.”
“Being the only veterinarian to join the military was an honor. The military path is very different than the small-animal careers of my colleagues. Regardless, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else right now.”
After graduation, Marquez became active duty in the U.S. Army and currently serves as a Captain in the Veterinary Corps. He is one of few veterinary soldiers to enter the army every year and carries many unique responsibilities.
“Military veterinary medicine is very different from your average dog and cat medicine. Army veterinarians are the Department of Defense’s experts in all animal and public health issues that affect our world today. We focus on providing complete medical and surgical care to military working dogs, cavalry horses and other animals that are owned by the government.”
Military animals have been invaluable to our country’s defense and are often exposed to diseases not frequently found in our domestic pets. Veterinarians like Marquez provide these animals with the best health care available, because human health can easily be affected by an animal that has become infected during deployment in another country.
“When I think of diseases that may be affecting a military working dog, I have to consider his or her travel history and infectious diseases that the dog could have picked up along the way. It all comes back around to public health… if I can keep the military dog healthy then the soldiers that surround the dog will be healthy as well.”
Marquez has been given many unique opportunities as a veterinarian while serving in the military. One of his most recent and exciting experiences was caring for Secret Service dogs. He comments, “It’s a busy and demanding job, but I love it!”
Marquez has truly set an example for first-generation college students and Aggies everywhere. He reminds current and prospective students to stay focused on their goals and do not lose sight of the importance of their future.
“Success is earned by those dedicated and motivated to make a difference. Anything is possible if you really want it.”
The Endowed Regents’ Scholars Program is made possible by private donations to the Texas A&M Foundation. In addition to up to four years of scholarship assistance, the recipients also receive academic support through a variety of success programs across the university.