Pursuing an Unending Love for Animals
After a career test in middle school revealed to Paige Hicks she would make a successful veterinarian, she was overjoyed. Having grown up with four dogs and spent her summers riding horses, she had an unending love for animals.
Following the test, she received an invitation to attend a veterinary summer camp. There, Hicks learned the basic anatomy of animals, attended college-style classes, and had hands-on experience with medical procedures.
“After returning from this program I knew this is what I wanted to do,” she recalls.
In pursuing her interest, Hicks began shadowing a couple of local veterinarians in her hometown of Hudson, Ohio. They taught Hicks many aspects of veterinary medicine, providing hands-on experience and preparing her for veterinary school. Seven years later, she still works with the two when she is home on break.
“At first you have no idea what you’re doing, but then you get accustomed to it. One of the vets taught me about X-rays, ultrasounds, and would even put me on the spot in front of clients,” states Hicks.
Hicks, a senior biology major at Catholic University, says she is fortunate to have found an environment that allows her to study science, excel in academics, and continue her love for music. On campus she is a research assistant in the genetics lab of John Golin, professor of biology, where she works with drug resistant bacteria and super viruses.
“Research in our laboratory does depend on having excellent undergraduates. Paige is extremely hardworking, careful and intelligent which is what we need to do research that is on a par with the best laboratories,” says Golin.
Since freshman year Hicks has been a member of Take Note Acapella for which she serves as vice president and music director. She says her happiest moments at CUA have been spent with the group, which she calls her second family. Additionally, Hicks finds time to tutor in the Center of Academic Success for students in biology, psychology, physics, pre-calculus, and calculus.
Hicks began the eight-month-long application process to veterinary schools the fall of her junior year. There are only 28 programs in the country, so admission is highly competitive. Her dream was to attend top-ranked Ohio State, allowing her to be close to family and friends back home.
“At Ohio State, there were nearly 2,000 applications. 162 get accepted, and only 80 are in state,” Hicks explains.
In the months following the application process, Hicks says she waited anxiously for a decision.
“I was at the gym one morning and the email came in. I jumped off the machine, screaming to my boyfriend Eric. The whole gym watched me celebrate, I couldn’t believe it.”
With her dream of becoming an Ohio State Buckeye finally realized, she immediately cancelled a scheduled interview at a Wisconsin school and informed her family of the acceptance news. Hicks will begin courses in fall 2014 and graduate in 2018 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She says she hopes to work closely with horses or in research.
“I love the research world. Studying swine flu, bird flu, or even Lyme disease would be really cool.”
She says that she’ll miss her work with Take Note Acapella and other volunteer commitments on campus.
“I am definitely a person that realizes if I’m going to do what I love to, and become a veterinarian, I have to learn to move on,” she says.
With the summer approaching, Hicks plans to continue her work with the veternarians back home, return to work at a nature center, and travel with her family. She leaves for Ohio State in early August.
“Everything I did in my life was worth it after hearing from Ohio State. I didn’t waste my time in clinics, working in research, or going to these summer camps. I could not be more excited.”
Degree: B.A. biology, minor in psychology, 2014
Favorite place in D.C.: "I love to be at the Washington Monument."
Favorite Book: The Giver
Best memory at CUA: Any moment spent with Take Note Acapella