From BME to Veterinary School

Growing up with medical doctors as parents and a natural inclination toward math and science, Nicholas Jew knew he wanted to pursue some type of engineering degree long before he entered college. Nicholas debated between the biomedical engineering programs at The University of Texas at Austin and Stanford. A native of Temple, Texas, the close proximity of UT combined with an accomplished faculty ultimately led Nicholas to join the Longhorn family.

Nicholas, who graduated in 2009, was a member of the first class to use the senior design labs in the newly constructed Biomedical Engineering Building, which was completed in 2008.

"The building was new and fresh, and to be there during that time was cool. It was so new that occasionally we'd still get locked out of the room."

He worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Krishnendu Roy's lab. He helped a graduate student conduct nanoscale experiments for controlled release therapies at the Pickle Research lab. Specifically, Nicholas' role was performing polymer chemistry and testing degradation rates.

"The ultimate goal was to develop a nanoscale particle to treat tumors," he says. "Even though I was fascinated with the research, I didn't see myself working in that environment, which led me to apply to veterinary schools."

There were only about 28 vet schools in the country when he began applying—the
closest of which was rival school Texas A&M.

"I didn't want to move to College Station, and neither did my then-girlfriend, current wife. She got her degree in advertising from UT, and we needed to choose a place that would help her career as well."

Nicholas' interviewed at Ohio State University, right after the first Ohio State and UT Austin football game.

"The Ohio vet program joked about how I had the nerve to come up right after that," he says.

UT and Nicholas both ended up winning as he was accepted into the veterinary program.

Nicholas and his wife currently reside in Columbus, Ohio where he works as an associate vet. They have two cats, a dog, and a gecko. He is ecstatic to be working with animals and sees between 15 to 20 animals a day.

"I get to meet really fantastic people who care about their pets," he says. "They're happy to see you."

He credits his engineering background with helping him come up with creative solutions in his work. Much of his thought processes as a vet  he learned in the biomedical engineering program.

"Tailoring a health plan to each individual animal is necessary. If a dog has a food allergy, and the owner can't separate that one dog from the other three to feed them, I get to help think of a creative solution for that."

Even though he sometimes misses his college experience—dining at campus haunts like Players or walking around in the spring and fall during non-sweltering weather, he says he doesn't have to venture far to run into fellow Longhorns.

"I see a lot of Longhorn emblems on cars in Ohio. We're everywhere. And when we see those emblems, we're always interested in chatting with each other about our experience at UT."