Skip to main content
Faculty and Staff

Honoring the Ways Women Show Up: Mom. Colleague. Mentor. Aunt. Friend.

For Women's History Month, we asked women across the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine campus to tell us about the female role models who have made the biggest differences in their lives. Here are five stories

Anna Jones, left, with her mother and sister
Anna Jones, left, with her mother, who got her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Tuskegee, and her sister.

Anna Jones:
Never Lower the Bar

Anna Jones was part of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine student contingent to the AVMA Legislative Fly-In in Washington, D.C., this year.

Jones, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a second-year student in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.

For Women’s History Month, I would like to honor my astounding mother, Dr. Dawn Jones, a wife, veterinarian and mother of three children. 

She and my father met in veterinary school in the Class of 1995 at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in Alabama, and together they opened and own a small animal hospital right outside Charlotte, North Carolina. 

My mother is truly a mentor and confidante to me and my siblings, for she possesses a keen tenacity for life and strives to achieve excellence in all that she does. 

One of my absolute favorite pictures of my childhood is one where she is holding me and my sister on her lap in the treatment center of their vet hospital, and we are all wearing surgery bouffants and grinning widely. 

She has taught me and my siblings the significance of never lowering the bar for yourself but rather becoming an integrous individual who raises the bar. She has always elucidated the beauty of having respect for others and the vitalness of remaining humble, hungry and teachable. 

These lessons have translated seamlessly into my pursuit of veterinary medicine, for it is a profession that requires grit, toil and a care for the needs of humans and animals alike. 

Both she and my father have provided a steadfast source of understanding and encouragement that has enabled me to intrepidly embark on the wondrous enigma that is life. I sincerely consider it an honor to pay homage to the lovely woman and mentor that is Dr. Dawn Nicole Jones. 

Ankita Gupta:
Combine Brilliance With Care

Ankita Gupta was the winner of the NC State Graduate School’s 2022 Three Minute Thesis on improving the success of translational research for chronic pain, a condition that plagues countless animals and individuals. 
Dr. Brenda Stevens
Dr. Lysa Posner

Gupta, a native of New Delhi, India, is in her last year of the seven-year combined DVM/Ph.D. degree program in Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.

I am grateful for the many people who have supported me during my training and have helped me achieve various milestones. I am sincerely thankful to Dr. Brenda Stevens, general practice clinical professor, and Dr. Lysa Posner, assistant dean of student development, at NC State for their encouraging words that have inspired me to work harder and be stronger, making me a more compassionate and better person.

Dr. Stevens and Dr. Posner are patient, kind, fair and enthusiastic teachers. I first met these strong women in 2017 and am indebted to them for welcoming me into their family. 

As an out-of-state student, I struggled to find a support system in Raleigh. Further, during my intensive veterinary and research training, I felt stressed, exhausted and inadequate at work and in my personal life. I often operated on the premise that I had to give it my all to contribute to science and medicine. I have frequently felt tired and plagued by feelings of insufficiency. 

However, I am lucky to have been trained by women who model the importance of combining brilliance with care. They helped me realize that what I needed to change was not my work but my mindset. Perfection can be a dangerous illusion. 

I am grateful to be at NC State for my clinician-scientist training and to be supported by phenomenal mentors who are advocates for veterinary students, graduate students, house officers, staff and faculty. 

Dr. Stevens and Posner have an unmatched dedication to their work and the well-being of others – an underappreciated rarity at academic institutions and in life. Their training and mentoring of students from diverse personal and professional backgrounds have led to the continued advancement and success of the veterinary field. 

Thank you both for all you have done for your mentees and continue to do!

Annie Hogue:
Be a Doorway

Annie Hogue with her Aunt Jerri on Aunt Jerri’s farm in Ohio.

Hogue, a native of Dayton, Ohio, is the assistant director of administrative services at the NC State Veterinary Hospital. She won a CVM Award for Excellence for her work in 2023.

When I think about a woman who has made a big impact on my life, I think of my Aunt Jerri. Jerri married into my family when I was a preteen, and she and I instantly clicked. She and my uncle bought a beautiful farm and built an incredible life together. 

Their farm was a few hours from my house and was my absolute favorite place to go. It’s where I got my first real exposure to horses and learned to do farm chores. She always had lots of big dogs (rotties and Great Danes!), which I absolutely loved, and I would spend hours riding ATVs around her property with her. 

Not only did Jerri know how to be a wife and take care of that entire farm and her beautiful house by herself, she also was a businesswoman and owned her own company that she started when she was in her 20s. She grew up in a very poor household and knew pretty early on that she needed to find a way to turn it all around for herself, so she started her own business. 

Throughout my teens and through college, whenever I needed a little extra money or help making ends meet, I could go work for Jerri for a few weeks over holiday break or during the summers. I was so grateful to always have her help.

Jerri is a huge animal welfare advocate who served on the board of a local animal rescue, which ended up being my first doorway into the veterinary world. She funded the trap/neuter/release program for numerous feral cat colonies, among many other contributions, in the rural town where she lives. She made a huge impact on the town, which was completely overrun with feral cats, with her efforts. 

Jerri is an incredibly strong, impactful and inspirational woman and a huge reason why I am where I am today. 

Ashlee Canty:
Know Your Lesson

Dr. Ashlee Canty
Dr. Ashlee Canty with her mother
Dr. Ashlee Canty with her grandmother

Dr. Canty, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from NC State, her master’s from Western Illinois University and her doctorate in philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago.

My female role models are my grandmother and my mom. My mom was a first-generation college student, and both she and my grandmother greatly valued education. They encouraged me to do well in school and take risks and also to be kind and serve the community. 

My grandmother had an eighth-grade education and was a sharecropper, so I learned a lot from her about simply enjoying life and loving your family. She passed away during my freshman year of college but not before reminding me to make sure “I knew my lesson” – her way of reminding me to study and do well and questioning why I was visiting her when I should have been on campus at NC State. 

My Ph.D. dissertation was dedicated to her because I am absolutely living the dreams and prayers of my ancestors. I am fortunate to have had strong women in my life who supported me, laughed with me and pushed me to be my absolute best. 

Additionally, I have had many great women as mentors and supervisors who supported my professional goals and helped me navigate challenges along the way. My sorority sisters and best friends have been there through it all, and I am eternally grateful to have such a strong support system of mentors and friends who hold me accountable and celebrate the wins, big or small. 

Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to travel, grow and be supported. I hope to do the same for other women who mean so much to me.

Kelsey Mills:
Be Role Models for One Another

Kelsey Mills has been instrumental in designing and implementing new GIS solutions, pig movement data analysis and disease-tracking systems that have greatly improved her lab’s ability to monitor disease outbreaks and respond to them in a timely and effective manner.

Mills, a native of Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, is a research technician in the Machado Lab in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology. She won a Governor’s Award for Excellence in efficiency and innovation in 2023.

I started working with my lab at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine in what can often be a male-dominated field in 2020. Our work is branched out across STEM-related subjects such as computer science, geospatial analytics, epidemiology and machine learning. 

The women I work with support not just one another but all individuals. With their contributions to the scientific community, they are an essential gear within the machine that is our lab. This group of women strives to be role models for one another and for the women entering our field.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I would like to recognize all current female members of the lab –  colleagues Abagael Sykes, Faith Kennedy, Lily Hutchens and Allison Yelvington – for their support and positive influence on me and on all those we encounter.

In addition, I would like to honor my friend Fallon Ross. We discovered at East Carolina University that we were both from southeastern North Carolina, and we have supported each other during our undergraduate research through life decisions and now in our own professional fields. She has been a mentor and a role model, and without her friendship I would not be where I am. 

Kelsey Mills and Fallon Ross at the NC Renaissance Festival in 2023.