UNC Pembroke graduate Nikki Clayman earned a biology degree in May and has been accepted into one of the world's leading specialist institutions of veterinary medicine, biosciences and veterinary nursing.
But first, she must obtain a student visa.
Clayman, a former Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) student, has been accepted to Royal Veterinary College in London. It is the United Kingdom's largest and longest-established independent veterinary school.
"I owe getting my acceptance into Royal to UNCP and all the training I received in the RISE program and Dr. (Ben) Bahr's research lab," Clayman said. "I would've never been able to have this type of training if I wasn't involved in Dr. Bahr's lab and all the undergraduate research opportunities I was given as a student researcher."
Clayman said her undergraduate experience allowed her to grow and gain valuable connections, confidence and knowledge.
"With the help of the RISE program, I was able to experience working in research, presenting research and learning the fundamentals of being a scientist," she said.
"I was awarded a North Carolina Space Grant fellowship with NASA and got a chance to work alongside Dr. Bahr on Alzheimer's research and Dr. Nicolas Negrin-Pereira on Sertoli cell research. These experiences at UNCP made me a valuable applicant when applying to Royal Veterinary College."
During her studies at UNCP, she gained experience working with basic research assays and data under Bahr's mentorship. She credits Negrina-Pereira, a veterinarian who specializes in cattle reproduction, with supplying her with hands-on research experience with cows. Michael De Almeida, the Bahr lab manager, also played an instrumental role in guiding Clayman’s undergraduate career and preparing her for success.
Pursuing a career in veterinary medicine has been her dream since high school in her hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
"I would come home from school and watch veterinary videos online because they always made me happy. The challenging diagnosis and the ability to help animals had always been my ideal job," Clayman said
Upon completing vet school, she plans to earn a Ph.D., do animal research, and, one day, open a veterinary practice.