Kenan Thompson urges students to consider careers in veterinary medicine
As the longest-serving cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” Kenan Thompson has played in all kinds of roles: host of “Black Jeopardy,” OJ Simpson and Whoopi Goldberg, to name a few. So it’s surprising that he never played a vet before being cast in the upcoming movie “Clifford the Big Red Dog”.
He even played a dog. One of the first roles of his career was Toto in a religious production of “The Wiz”.
“They were playing a play and got all the parts and then they saw me sitting there,” he said TODAY. “I said to myself, ‘What about the dog? Is anyone playing dog? They let me do it.
Now in “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” Thompson plays a Banfield vet tasked with treating the comically oversized dog.
It was difficult working with a CGI character – eye lines and hand placement became critically important – but not preparing for the role itself. He’s had a good relationship with vets who have looked after his own pets over the years, including his late sausage dog, Nathan (yes, like hot dogs).
“He was a good guy. … It’s one thing I learned about having a pet, is that you need a good vet because you never know when they’ll need an antibiotic or whatever. something like that, “he said jokingly,” You just assume you’re taking a pet as a toy, and that should work.
Now, Thompson is using his experience as a veterinarian to encourage high school students to consider pursuing a real-life veterinarian career. On September 2, he made a surprise appearance at the Boys & Girls Club in Whittier, Calif. To talk about opportunities for high school students from under-represented veterinary communities.
Banfield Pet Hospital, with over 1,000 locations across the United States, partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to reach students interested in veterinary careers as well as those who may not have thought about it yet. . Thompson spoke about the organization’s “NextVet” program, a new paid internship for high school students that aims to strengthen and diversify the talent pool.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 90% of American veterinarians currently identify as white.
“I’m trying to get the word out to anyone who didn’t know there could be a lot of opportunities in the veterinary field for people of color,” said Thompson. “This could be an area that could maintain a very comfortable lifestyle if they take all the necessary steps to do so. … If you tick these boxes to be an animal lover, this can be a good career for you.
Thompson, who recently felt like a “kid in the candy store” while attending the 2021 Emmy Awards after being nominated for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Comedy Series for “Kenan” and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a comedy series for “Saturday Night Live” – which won the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series award – noted that success doesn’t happen overnight. He wants young people to know about the opportunities in veterinary medicine that exist if they work towards their goals.
“There is a lot of room in the market for diversity, as well as for job postings,” he said.