Jesse Huerta knew the road to achieving his lifelong goal of becoming a veterinarian would require perseverance, determination and distinction. All of which he set out to accomplish.
He knew he needed more veterinary experience before applying to vet school. While an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, the San Antonio native worked in that school’s large animal hospital ICU.
He applied to vet school and wasn’t accepted. But Huerta didn’t give up.
After graduating from Texas A&M, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and found his passion working at a small animal emergency clinic, a field of veterinary medicine that was completely foreign to him.
He applied to vet school a second time and wasn’t accepted. Again, Huerta didn’t give up.
“My dad always told me to have a Plan B,” Huerta said. “I told him I wanted to be a vet and there wasn’t a Plan B.”
Huerta’s desire to become a veterinarian stemmed from his childhood. One of his pets was hit by a car. Others had illnesses. In each case he felt helpless in caring for the animal.
“I didn’t fully know what was going on with them,” he said “I wanted to put myself into a position to be able to help them and to be an advocate for other animals.”
So Huerta continued his quest to be accepted into veterinary school. While working in Michigan, he continued to seek other avenues of veterinary medicine with a goal of being a well-rounded applicant.
He again applied to vet school.
When he was accepted after his third attempt, Huerta had multiple choices of where to attend including Iowa State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Two factors stood out in Iowa State’s favor – a tour of the college given to him by Dean Dan Grooms and the Frederick Douglass Patterson Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship. The renewable scholarship honors the personal merits and attributes of Patterson, a 1923 DVM graduate from Iowa State, who served as president of the Tuskegee Institute and was the founder of the United Negro College Fund.
Huerta considers himself fortunate to receive the Patterson Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship.
“This is a wonderful scholarship that has taken some of the burden off of my financial obligations,” he said. “I’m honored to have been selected for the Patterson Scholarship and it’s a great incentive for me to keep my grades up.”
Once he graduates from Iowa State, Huerta hopes to return to his San Antonio community where he says good, quality veterinary care is lacking for the residents and their companion animals.