Devon was born in the Bronx, New York then lived briefly in Bayonne, New Jersey and by the age of six his family had settled in Tampa, Florida. He completed his undergraduate degree at UF and in 2018 entered the College of Veterinary Medicine, pursuing two degrees as a DVM candidate and a Masters of Public Health candidate.
As an undergraduate, Devon was selected as a Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar. Devon says “To put it bluntly: I do not know that I would be where I am today without the financial support that MFOS offered me. As passionate, scholarly, and driven as I was, my family simply did not have the capital to afford a collegiate education. Scholarships and programs like MFOS allow students, like me, to overcome their disadvantaged backgrounds and pave paths for future generations.”
For as long as Devon can remember, he has had a passion for health. One of his earliest memories is of running around his grandmother’s small New Jersey apartment and proclaiming, “I’ll fix your back one day, Gramma!” He has since devoted himself to fixing a different set of animals.
Devon states that he is “a hodgepodge of labels: a Black, Latino, first-generation, queer man, raised in a low-income, single-mother household.” He said he’s learned to acknowledge how those identifiers have molded his experiences. Occasionally restrictive, occasionally enabling, but always providing him with a unique perspective and everlasting sense of resilience. He hopes to enter the veterinary profession with the cultural competency and public health readiness to break down systemic barriers for future generations of peers and animal lovers. He wants those, like him, to have a greater sense of confidence (than he did) about their ability to survive and succeed in this world.
Devon most appreciates that UF CVM allows him the opportunity to engage the community as a supplement to the education he receives in the classroom. He has been able to add real-life context to his coursework as a DVM/MPH student by serving as a Clinical Coordinator for PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support). The PAWS program provides free veterinary care to individuals in Alachua County who are living with a disability and are from a low socioeconomic background. He works directly with clients and patients who are too often swept under the rug by traditional healthcare systems. His work is a direct reflection of what he wishes to pursue as a veterinarian.
Devon aims to be a veterinary public health professional. More specifically, “An expert on systems that simultaneously impact human and animal health.” Ultimately, he sees himself as “An effective practitioner, researcher, and advocate.” Furthermore, he intends to seek diplomacy as an American College of Veterinary Preventive medicine specialist and a joint appointment as a clinician and researcher at an academic institution.
When Devon learned he was receiving this scholarship he stated “Words are failing me at the moment, but I want to give the biggest and warmest virtual thanks that I can offer. This means so much to me and my family. I’ve read and heard amazing things about Dr. Nicoletti, and I am honored to be a part of his legacy.”