Pathways to Success: Pembroke Connection Produces Two Members of the Class of 2026
Meet Allyson and Allyson.
No, that’s not a typo. Allyson Lane and Allyson Chavis are both members of the College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2026. Both graduated with degrees in biology from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Both were part of the University of North Carolina System Veterinary Education Access (UNC-SVEA) program established in 2017. The purpose of the program is to make a degree in veterinary medicine more accessible to minority students and students from a rural background.
The fact that both Allysons are now on their way to a veterinary education is evidence that the UNC-SVEA is bearing fruit. They will join Lexi High of the Class of 2025 as the second and third graduates of the program to emerge from the rigorous admissions process to take their places at the CVM.
Interestingly, all three are well acquainted and will be rooming together during the academic year. Of course, each has her own story, too.
Allyson Chavis is a member of the Lumbee Tribe and is the sole Native American member of this incoming class. She says she has dreamed of being a veterinarian since she was eight years old. That’s when she and her great-grandmother rescued a bird with a broken wing and together nursed it back to health. It was a life-changing experience.
Chavis began volunteering at Baird’s Animal Hospital in Lumberton when she was 14 years old. “I did just general work at first, but by the time I was 16, I was working as a veterinary assistant,” she says. Her professional goals have never wavered. After high school it was on to Pembroke, where she soon learned about the Veterinary Education Access program.
Asked about her reaction to learning that she had been accepted at NC State, she says: “I can’t describe it. I couldn’t stop crying. It’s difficult for people in our area to get access to resources. It removed a lot of stress. Now I can focus on school.”
After graduation, Chavis plans to return to a small animal practice near her home. “I want to be near my family,” she says, “and I hope I can be an example to others.”
Allyson Lane grew up in Laurel Hill near Laurinburg in Scotland County. “I never thought of being anything other than a veterinarian,” she says.
A dedicated student, she graduated from Scotland County Early College in 2018, earning a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in science, the equivalent of a community college degree. Although she considered several options to pursue her undergraduate degree, she stayed close to home at Pembroke, where she got her general biology degree in 2.5 years. In the meantime, she gained experience working at the Cooley Veterinary Hospital in Rockingham.
Lane also wants to return close to home to be near family and hopes to enter a mixed animal practice, with an interesting twist. “I’d like to focus on preventative medicine for farm animals, including vaccinations,” she says. “There’s a definite need for a mixed practice in rural areas.”
The Lane family has deep roots in the area. Her grandparents are in Rowland, just off I-95 near the South Carolina border. Her parents, too, are UNC-Pembroke alumni, and Lane plans to make the area home for another generation of her family.
Both Allysons are grateful to those involved with the Veterinary Education Access program for helping them turn their dreams into reality.