How many students can say they have performed surgeries on large animals before entering veterinary school? Brandon Michels is one of the few.
A junior biochemistry and molecular biology major at The College of Wooster, Michels has assisted veterinarians in numerous operations on large animals — dairy cattle, beef cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats — over the past two years while shadowing at the Sugarcreek Veterinary Clinic, in part because of his education at Wooster.
“I had heard a lot about Wooster and its science curriculum,” said Michels, a resident of Uhrichsville, Ohio, and a graduate of Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School. “I knew I would be challenged.”
And he was right. Michels has had to work hard to achieve a 3.4 grade point average, which he believes is better than many students from other institutions with higher grade point averages. “I’ve always been told that a ‘B’ at Wooster is like an ‘A’ at a lot of other schools,” said Michels, whose father is a vice president at a local bank and whose mother is a waitress. “I believe I was better prepared because of my education at Wooster.”
Evidently administrators at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine agreed because they extended Michels an invitation to enroll a year early. Most students have to wait months for a verdict, but Michels had to wait only minutes. In fact, just after his interview last December, Michels received a call on his cell phone from the interviewer, who said, “You’re in.”
It was a thrill for Michels, who loves the outdoors and has been working on farms in and around Tuscarawas County since he was 16. One of the farmers, Hans Bichsel, took a liking to Michels and introduced him to the joys of farming, but it was his high school anatomy teacher, Marilyn Kramer, who had the greatest influence. “She encouraged me to think about becoming a veterinarian,” he said.
After graduating from high school, Michels chose Wooster, and he has not been disappointed. “Wooster’s science courses prepared me well,” he said. “They were stringent and encouraged me to think outside the box. You don’t just memorize information here. Professors put you in situations and force you to think about how your decisions would affect outcomes.”
The outcome for Michels has been extremely satisfying, but not at all surprising. He will enter the program at Ohio State in the fall, which will require that he forego his senior year at Wooster. “I’m really disappointed that I won’t get to do I.S., but I could not pass up the opportunity to enroll early,” said Michels. “I’m really pumped.”
Fortunately, Michels plans to maintain his ties to Wooster. “I am looking forward to marching with my classmates at commencement next year (May 2010),” he said. “My undergraduate degree will be from Wooster, and that’s very important to me.”
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