Leader in the Making
Class of 2024
Second-year veterinary student Bryce Westbrook has a talent for bringing people together. As part of “the COVID class” — students that began their first year during the COVID-19 pandemic — Westbrook knows he was fortunate to find a small group of friends early on, despite remote learning and other challenges. Once in-person instruction resumed, he made a point of getting to know more of his classmates and helping them connect with each other, both in and out of the classroom.
Westbrook is one of the co-presidents of the Caduceus Club that organizes monthly Thank Goodness It’s Friday gatherings (affectionately known as “TGs”) for faculty, staff, and students. He loves being involved in these events because it helps students build connections and meet people from different classes. As one of the vice presidents for the class of 2024, he also helped organize the first ever Fall Ball in 2021. The event, held outside on the Gladys Valley Hall patio, was a resounding success with high attendance from all classes.
“I didn’t even know my classmates until we got back to the classroom,” reflected Westbrook. “Fall Ball helped everyone come together and build relationships.” Westbrook’s dedication to community and inclusion extends to his passion for education. A minor in education as an undergraduate at Cornell University provided him with a unique perspective on his career path, while instilling valuable skills.
“My background in education helped me learn how to talk to people,” Westbrook said. “It also helped me learn about my own unconscious biases when I meet people, how to take a step back and approach interactions with a clean slate.”
He hopes to combine his love for teaching with his interests in neurology and wildlife medicine. A pre-vet wildlife program in South Africa fostered a love for wildlife medicine, but he also enjoyed working with the local residents, educating them about veterinary care for dogs, cats, horses, and livestock. He plans to return to Africa this summer to work with cheetahs through the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
Despite a lifelong love for animals, Westbrook only recently got his first pet — a kitten named Maki, who he adopted through the Orphan Kitten Project. He admitted that he is a slightly obsessive first-time pet parent and that his once tiny kitten is “growing up too fast.” In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with friends and taking trips to San Francisco, noting the Marina District as a favorite spot.
Westbrook has a clear vision of what he would like to see in the future for the veterinary profession.
“I would like to see more people that look like me,” he said. “I want to see more African Americans in the veterinary profession because there are so few. I want to go to underrepresented communities to teach them about veterinary medicine. I want to be that person and help other people be that person for their own communities, engaging in outreach to encourage people of color to pursue veterinary medicine.”