The mainstream graduating high school student maps-out a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree for his or her desired career.
But one determined 2012 Midlothian High School honors graduate has taken a different, longer path.
Hunter Enderle aspired to a higher level of education plan after six years of classwork and hands-on clinical experience in the field of veterinarian medicine. As of now, he is at the midway point to become a full-fledged doctor of veterinary medicine.
Enderle enrolled in a four-year program at Texas A&M University. The first three years were spent mostly in the classroom and developing clinical skills, while the fourth year is spent entirely on rotations in the clinics between large and smaller animal hospitals.
“I started vet school fall 2016, and if everything goes well, I will graduate as a DVM May 2020. I am starting my third year in the fall so you can say I’m half of a ‘dogtor,’” Enderle joked.
The intelligent, enthusiastic student graduated Magna Cum Laude in biomedical sciences in May 2015 — in six semesters — as he transferred over several dual credits, as well as advanced placement credits.
The competitiveness of the program caught Enderle off guard when his first application was denied for vet school.
“I didn’t get in on my first application. Not many people get in on their first try, but that doesn’t make the rejection sting any less,” Enderle disclosed. “So, instead, I decided to work in a referral veterinary hospital in Dallas for a year gaining more experience and polishing up my application for the next cycle.”
Doctors at this hospital specialized in areas such as internal medicine, oncology, radiation oncology, and emergenc and critical care.
“Truthfully, I am actually very thankful I wasn’t accepted on my first application,” Enderle confessed. “I think I matured greatly as a person, learned a lot about veterinary medicine, and gained the valuable perspective of having actually worked in a clinic as a technician.”
GIVING SOME PERSPECTIVE
Enderle elaborated on how competitive it is to register in vet school since it is the only program in the entire state of Texas. “A&M usually has around 600 applicants each year, and class size is limited to about 135, but that number is slowing growing because a beautiful new veterinary teaching complex was built in 2016 —the year I started vet school.”
The program requires eight years of thorough academic work and study to achieve the dream of becoming a veterinary medical doctor. The grind is real with twenty-two hours a semester and about 10,000 hours of study and class time.
The time invested is an immense accomplishment, when you realize that every year about 2,900 people graduate from veterinary schools in America. This equals about one veterinarian for every 2,412,000 people that live in the good ole USA.
Compare that number to the 17,500 medical students that graduate each year and the 40,000 lawyers that graduate each year. So, being a veterinarian makes you a member of a very exclusive club.
During his ride in College Station, he participated in the Internal Medicine Club, Veterinary Business Management Association, Vet School Open House, and DVM White Coats, which are ambassadors for the vet school.
AN INTIMIDATING EXPERIENCE
Enderle has enjoyed learning about the typical domesticated animals like dogs, cats, horses, cows, goats, etc. But he has also treated exotics like reptiles, and even fondly remembers an encounter with a weird bird named “Nova.”
He smiled as he explained the details of caring for the most intimidating animal that he’s ever handled as a patient.
“It would have to be an ostrich,” he admitted. “It was a part of our clinical correlates class that we had animal husbandry rotations where we would have to take care of either a horse, cow, or ostrich. Somehow, I was assigned the ostrich.”
Enderle learned first hand how to conduct a thorough physical exam and essentially feed and maintain the ostrich for an entire week. The physical exam was, by far, was one of the most daunting tasks he’d ever experienced. Nova the ostrich stood about six feet tall, with deadly thunder thighs and had no respect for personal space. But, she was quickly distracted by a handful of grapes.
“It was a very humbling experience for both of us,” Enderle added.
HIS HIGHEST HONOR THUS FAR
After a rigorous curriculum and some terrorizing experiences, Enderle was invited as one of the 2019 Vet School Open House Directors. This entails the planning of an event hosted by the vet students for the College Station and Bryan communities. Per Enderle, this event has grown into a massive day of animal-related fun, incorporating the entire veterinary complex coordinated by hundreds of vet students and undergrads for people from all over the state. The event opens all the doors to the college and both hospitals to allow the public to see exclusively behind the scenes of the premier veterinary school. For more information on the open house, log onto, http://vetmed.tamu.edu/open-house, or visit on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VetSchoolOpenHouse/.
“Once I graduate in May 2020, I will be a licensed veterinarian and can practice general veterinary medicine,” Enderle elaborated. “Internships and residencies are not required unless you want to pursue a specialty, which I am currently interested in cardiology, internal medicine, and radiology.”
Most specialties require you to do a one-year rotating internship. Then, you must complete a three-year residency in the specialty of your choice — I’m currently leaning toward cardio,” he assured. “So, perhaps by 2024, I’ll be a boarded veterinary cardiologist! But, at this point, who knows? I may change my mind and just be a general practice vet.”
“Regardless of what veterinary path I choose, I’d like to come home and work in the DFW area where I can be close to my family,” he concluded.
HIGH SCHOOL YEARS
Enderle was involved in several organizations at MHS such as varsity tennis, the National Honors Society, the science club and also graduated top 10 of his class.
Enderle acknowledged his favorite teacher at MHS was Jennifer Ferranti, who taught his AP biology class senior year.
“I feel like Ms. Ferranti, and her class really nurtured my interest in the sciences and really prepared me for the difficult science classes in college and vet school,” he elaborated.
Enderle continued, “I don’t think I ever had a true defining moment that led me to want to become a veterinarian. I think I just grew up having a passion for animals and science, and it just made sense, that this would be a great career for me.”
Enderle’s parents, Dwayne and Donna Enderle, now live in Dallas, but they remained in the Midlothian area until their son became a long-term student at A&M.
“We are so proud of Hunter and the way he has shown such strong determination to achieve his dream job in his life,” Donna shared. “We totally support him and continue to encourage his tenacity in completing his schooling.”
In closing, as Enderle thinks back to all his years spent at A&M, he retorted, “I am dreaming about the day when I will walk across that stage, shake an important person’s hand, receive my diploma, and then I will officially become a ‘Dr.’ for the rest of my life.”