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From UMES’ farm to Tuskegee’s veterinary school

  • Nakia Coit's love for animals led to majoring in agriculture

    Friday, May 17, 2019
    Nakia Coit

    Nakia Coit is quick to acknowledge that the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's farm heavily influenced her decision to become a Hawk. 

    The Baltimore native chose agriculture (animal & poultry pre-vet professional concentration) as her major and credits her mother, a registered nurse, with instilling in her and two younger sisters the value of working hard to achieve their dreams. 

    “I was raised in a single-parent household,” she said. “That's where I get my motivation.”

    When she walks across the Hytche Athletic Center stage May 24 to accept her Bachelor of Science degree, she will be one step closer to achieving her goal - becoming a veterinarian.

    Coit's love for animals began at age six, when her uncles would show her different animals they encountered during their excursions outdoors.  She laughed as she explained that her three dogs, three-year-old Buddy and Lois (both Shih Tzu) and five-year-old King (pit bull terrier), found her and stayed as pets.

    A certified cosmetologist and a ballet and hip-hop dancer, the honors student heads to Alabama in August where she has been accepted at Tuskegee University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

    “My passion will always be for animals,” she said. 

    Her goal is to be an anesthesiologist who specializes in treating marine and exotic animals because, as she notes, there currently is a lack of medicine and treatment for these mammals. 

    Coit credits her participation in the Richard A. Henson Honors program, UMES' chapter of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences and the university's REACH program for preparing her for post-graduation life.

    Nakia Coit was a research intern at Marine Biological Laboratory.

    During her time at UMES, Coit secured a 2018 summer research internship at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. where she studied various species of octopuses, which sparked her interest in identifying medical treatment for marine animals.  

    She also has shadowed Dr. Bryan Vorbach, Baltimore Aquarium's head veterinarian, and recently presented her honors capstone project detailing the impact of perkinsus, an aquatic parasite, on oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

    “UMES is like a big home, you just have to find your niche,” she said regarding her university experience. 

    She says she's grateful to Dr. Kimberly Braxton, Dr. Jennifer Timmons, Dr. Benita Rashaw, Rache Alaran and Dr. Sang Oh for their support and help during her time at UMES.  Coit is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

    Her career plan includes working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Services (emergency medical services program).  

    By Tahja Cropper