As Brendan Walker looked at x-rays of animals, he wasnt just looking at their anatomy. He was also taking a look at what he would be dong in the future.
Hes a veterinary student at the University of Arizona and is one of the recipients of the full-ride scholarship that is being offered by the Navajo Nation in partnership with the university.
I always wanted to be in a position to where I could help people and animals, Walker said.
He grew up helping animals on his familys ranch on the Navajo Nations reservation, tending to not just dogs and cats, but also black angus cattle, horses and goats.
As early as middle school he shadowed a veterinarian on the reservation.
However, after that vet left and so did another one, the reservation was left without a vet.
So from that point on, a lot of the veterinary services were only accessible if you drove two to three hours away, he said.
Its that kind of situation that the Navajo Nation and the University of Arizona is hoping to address through their scholarship. The scholarship would cover tuition for seven Navajo students per year.
Itll be available in the Fall semester for incoming students and second and third year students.
The scholarship is hoping to address a lack of vets in the Navajo Nation and would cover an accelerated three year program at the university.
However, the university is already partnering with Purdue University to teach elementary, middle and high school students in the area about pets and pet diseases.
Alberta Arviso is the veterinary schools senior engagement officer and goes out to schools to promote becoming a vet, not just on reservations, but in the Tucson area as well.
Our tribal community has always had animals within our culture.and so the connection there is very strong, Arviso said.
Walker is looking forward to graduating in 2025 and even though hes not required to work on a reservation, hes hoping it will help him practice back home after practicing outside of Arizona.
Itll mean so much more being able to help the people of my culture and the people of my hometown, he said.