Brittany Hassell

Camden, Tenn.


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Brittany Hassell, of Camden, isn’t letting a detour derail her dreams of attending veterinary school.


Hassell, who graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin in May 2016, chose UT Martin because of the hands-on opportunities available through the agriculture and animal science areas. As someone who hopes to become a veterinarian, she wanted to be able to experience more than just classroom examples.


“With the (prerequisites) that you have to have to go to vet school, it’s not a lot of animal classes. It’s mostly things like chemistry,” she said. “So I was glad that (UT) Martin offered so many classes where we were able to have hands-on experiences. … You can sit in a classroom all day and listen, but nothing takes effect until you’re actually able to touch that animal and see what part (the professors) were talking about.”


Last fall, Hassell applied to enter veterinary school, but was disappointed with the response. Her adviser, Dr. Jason Roberts, professor of animal science and director of the UT Martin Veterinary Health Technology Program, offered a few words of advice.


“He suggested that I come back (to UT Martin) and do the (veterinary health technology) program, and I’m really glad that he did. … He’s been my adviser since freshman year, so he knows my plans and he knows how to help me better myself,” said Hassell.


The decision to return for another year of coursework and a second degree will help Hassell’s chances for vet school acceptance in the long run. The training for veterinary health technicians incorporates supportive veterinary care that sometimes isn’t included in the curriculum for pre-vet students, and this extra experience will reflect well on Hassell’s resume and application materials.


UT Martin’s small size offers a distinct opportunity for students to connect with their professors, and Hassell encourages others to take advantage of personal connections.


“Here, since we’re a smaller campus, we get more hands-on time with our teachers and instructors. … You actually get to know your teachers better, and they get to know you better. There are always connections you can make,” she said.


Hassell is making another bid to attend veterinary school and hopes to be enrolled at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine for the fall 2017 semester.

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