3rd year veterinary medicine student Saskia de Jong grew up on reserve in remote northern Ontario in an area that had more bears than it had people. She enjoys being involved in community outreach and has a fondness for working with Indigenous communities and volunteering with the Special Olympics.

Before entering vet school, Saskia studied at Dalhousie University and James Cook University, attaining degrees in Marine Biology and Zoology, as well as Environmental Science and Stats.

Now at UCVM, Saskia is secretary of the Pathology Club and the Behaviour and Animal Training Club. She is also co-chair for the UCVM WIDE (Wellness, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) task-force, which is composed of faculty, staff and students.

This summer she founded the student group by the same name to better support equity, diversity, inclusion and the mental health and wellness of students. Her hobbies include playing fiddle, learning more about the indigenous customs and cultures she was raised with, reading, beading and triathlon.

In our wide-ranging conversation with Saskia we cover:

  • What got her to this point in her veterinary student progression
  • Giving back to community
  • Overcoming challenges to get into vet school
  • Why get involved in profession / school clubs and committees?
  • Attacking and addressing challenges facing the vet med profession
  • The creation of The Diversity in Veterinary Medicine event
  • Encouraging diversity in the workplace
  • The willingness to be uncomfortable while fostering change
  • Saskia’s impact round!

A big thank you to Saskia for joining us on the show!

To connect with Saskia directly you can do so via email or Instagram:

[email protected]


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– Jonathan Leicht, DVM and Michael Bugg, DVM