Gabby Hamilton (STM ’14) – Veterinarian
“The best advocate for your future is always yourself.”
by Katlyn Putney (STM ’10)
When we think of graduates who fit the description of “woman for all seasons,” people like Gabby Hamilton (STM ’14) come to mind. Despite being heavily involved in clubs and sports, Hamilton also thrived in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Sciences program and used that foundation to achieve a long-standing dream – earning her doctorate in veterinary medicine.
“I am one of the first students to go through all four years of the BioMed program to become a doctor; that’s something I am quite proud of,” Hamilton said. “The PLTW biomed program was a major factor in preparing me for college and my career. It really set up a great foundation for some of the more difficult science courses in college, especially anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry.”
Hamilton is grateful for her experience in PLTW and encourages current students to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in advanced courses while in a small, high-school classroom setting, something they are unlikely to experience in their early college career.
“I highly implore [current students] to take AP and advanced courses and challenge yourself in high school where you have more one-on-one opportunities to ask questions with your teacher. It is much more difficult to receive that level of tutoring during college, especially if you end up at a large state school where some classes have 300+ students.”
Hamilton is currently living in southern California, working at a day practice and urgent care facility that primarily treats exotic animals, with the majority of her patients consisting of birds, reptiles, and small mammals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hedgehogs.
“The best part of my field is that there is so much room for growth and development; I am constantly learning,” Hamilton explained. As she explores specializing in exotic veterinary medicine, she is also working towards her certification in Veterinary Acupuncture and hopes to become certified in ultrasonography and learn advanced surgical procedures.
While gratifying on the good days, being a veterinarian can be a huge sacrifice. “If a student is interested in becoming a vet, they should start shadowing at vet clinics as soon as possible to make sure that is what they want to do. Ask multiple veterinarians their honest opinion about this field and do a lot of soul-searching before choosing this career. The days are long, and it is common to miss out on time with family or friends.”
Students interested in veterinary science have many paths to choose from for their careers. Along with traditional day practice, veterinarians are also needed for research, regulation, public health, public policy, and much more. “Don’t limit yourself to the typical career path of a veterinarian. I encourage you to do research and be hands-on with your education. The best advocate for your future is always yourself.”
During her time at St. Thomas More, Hamilton was involved in an array of clubs, such as Relay for Life, Ambassadors, Big Buddies, Potato Club, Green Club, and the arts with Tri-M Music Honor Society, musical theater, and choir. She also participated in academic and service groups, such as Campus Ministry, National Honor Society, and retreat leaders, and competed as a member of the Cavalier tennis, basketball, and soccer teams. This variety of activities helped Hamilton experience the full realm of what STM has to offer students.
“I think being so involved at St. Thomas More really helped me to not only get to know my fellow peers but the faculty and staff as well. The care these teachers – especially Ms. Wiecki, Ms. Carter, Mrs. Spiegel, Mr. Rezutek, Mr. Dineen, Mr. Schultz, and Mr. Greuel – showed me not just concerning my education but my well-being as a person is something I will be forever grateful for. I don’t think I would have received that one-on-one care had I gone to a different school.”
In her limited free time, Hamilton’s hobbies reflect her time with extracurriculars at St. Thomas More by covering the areas of physical activity and the arts. You can now find her hiking, doing arts and crafts, practicing guitar and piano, and spending time with her numerous pets (Faline the greyhound, Tequila the African grey parrot, Piper the tortie cat, Lola the Dutch rabbit, and Honey the hedgehog).
Gabby is one of four Hamilton sisters to attend STM. Stay tuned for features on Izzy (STM ‘2013), Franny (STM ’17), and Dominique (STM ‘2018)!
Top: Hamilton (middle) with the 2012-13 Music Ministry group. Her sister Izzy (STM ’13), second from left, was in the group with her.
Left: Hamilton on the STM varsity soccer team.
Right: Hamilton with her sister Franny (STM ’17) on sibling photo day.
To view more 50th Anniversary Alumni Spotlights, visit tmore.org/50th.