Two Newman alumni pass competitive veterinary licensure exam

Feb 15, 2024
(From left to right) Hanah Huber and Kenneth Santiago are Newman University graduates and soon-to-be graduates of the Kansas State University veterinary program.
(From left to right) Hanah Huber and Kenneth Santiago are Newman University graduates and soon-to-be graduates of the Kansas State University veterinary program.

Four-legged friends are in good hands thanks to two soon-to-be veterinarians and graduates of Newman University, Hanah Huber and Kenneth Santiago. 

According to BeMo, veterinary school acceptance rates in the U.S. are notoriously competitive, with only 10-15% of all applicants accepted annually. The two Newman graduates defied the odds, however, and recently passed the even more challenging licensure exam for veterinary medicine — a test students only get five chances to pass in a lifetime.

Now, Huber and Santiago each look forward to graduating from Kansas State University’s four-year veterinary program in May.

Hanah Huber has a heart for animals

Huber has always known she was called to a career in a caring profession, particularly one where she can advocate for those who can’t care for themselves.

“During my undergrad years at Newman, I worked at a day care and really enjoyed working with children from the ages of 2 to 5 years old. However, I really wanted the chance to practice medicine and dabble in surgery,” Huber said.

Huber was drawn to veterinary medicine because it involves intensive training to properly examine, diagnose, perform surgery and assess treatment options. She also loves being able to think critically as she problem-solves.

Huber holds one of her feathered patients.
Huber holds one of her feathered patients.

“Working with exotic species also introduces unique challenges such as patient size and stability, the amount of published data available for reference and species-specific variations in anatomy and physiology,” Huber said.

Since graduating from Newman in 2019, Huber has worked on call as a radiology student worker (taking radiographs for emergency patients) as a tutor, participated in a summer research program and worked as a lab assistant. She has also participated in many externships, which refers to shadowing professionals, with clinics in Wichita as well as the Sedgwick County Zoo, which she described as “an absolute blast.”

While a Newman biology student with a pre-veterinary concentration, Huber was part of the ASC Service Award program, a member of Campus Activities Board, a tutor and a lab assistant for several classes.

Through every obstacle Huber has faced in veterinary school, she’s found her courses at Newman helped prepare her for the rigorous study demands of vet school. 

I really enjoyed Newman’s smaller faculty to student ratios, the opportunities for research and the success rates of graduates after leaving Newman.

Hanah Huber ’19, pre-veterinary medicine graduate

“I think I am most excited to actually get the chance to practice medicine with a variety of species,” Huber said. “I am hoping to get a job where I can continue to see at least exotic companion species in addition to dogs and cats.”

Huber will be notified of her placement for a veterinary job in March. In the meantime, she is eager to begin her work as a fully fledged veterinarian. She will be forever grateful to her family, friends, professors from Newman and vet school for helping her along the way.

From all the vets who’ve allowed her to shadow to her very own furry friends at home, “thank you for being patient and tolerating so me and my peers can practice what we learn on real animals,” Huber said.

Kenneth Santiago’s caring career path

When it came time to pick a college, Santiago applied for Newman University’s full-tuition St. Newman Scholarship. He took it as a sign when he was one of 10 students awarded in 2019.

“My mom brought me and my brother here to the United States from the Philippines to provide us with the best opportunities for a better life, so being awarded that scholarship was very important to me,” he said. “It eased the burden of paying for my education off of my parents.” 

At Newman, Santiago flourished as a leader, serving as vice president of the Newman University Weight Training Club and a member of the esports Club, Asian Student Association and the Multicultural Leadership Organization. He earned his Bachelor of Science in biology with a pre-veterinary concentration. 

Santiago performs a sonogram on one of his canine patients.
Santiago performs a sonogram on one of his canine patients.

Post-graduation, he worked at a veterinary clinic as an assistant, applied for veterinary school and was accepted into Kansas State University’s veterinary program. For Santiago, the dream he had been working toward since high school was finally realized. 

The biggest challenge of vet school was managing his study time, Santiago said. Rather than studying for a certain amount of hours in a day, Santiago set goals to study particular topics. 

“After studying, any time left over in the day would be spent taking care of myself whether that be mental or physical health — going to the gym, hanging out with friends or playing video games,” he said.

Santiago said working with all different kinds of animals (as well as humans) is by far the most rewarding aspect of being in the veterinary field.

“As a veterinarian, I also get to educate and empower pet owners, who share my love for animals, to provide the best care they can with their own pets,” he said. 

As a veterinarian, I get to educate and empower pet owners to provide the best care they can with their own pets. 

Kenneth Santiago ’19, pre-veterinary graduate

After graduation, Santiago will practice in Houston as a general practitioner who works with small animals and exotics. He credits his family — parents, grandparents and girlfriend — for inspiring him and supporting him through veterinary school, and his lifelong friends at Newman for “being with me every step of the way.”

“I am excited for my journey as a veterinarian in an ever-evolving field,” he said. “I look forward to all the pets and people that I get to help daily.”

Earn a pre-<mark>veterinary</mark> science degree at Newman

Our pre-<mark>veterinary</mark> science program is designed to give you the skills and knowledge necessary to enter <mark>veterinary</mark> school.