Joe playing his drums.

Joe’s Bio

  • Major: Biomedical Sciences
  • Hometown: Warren, Pennsylvania

Joe Thomas chose UB because he wants to be a doctor. And so much more.

“All of the schools I applied to had some kind of early assurance program for medicine, but this one looked the best, and I thought I had the best chance of doing well while pursuing all of my interests,” he said.

Joe playing the drums.

One of Joe’s favorite places: behind a drum set.

UB’s early assurance program, which guarantees placement in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for select students, was an important consideration for Joe, who wants to follow his father into medicine. Although he hasn’t decided on a specialization, Joe has been exposed to a number of possibilities through career shadowing at Veterans Hospital in Buffalo and with his father back home in Warren. He gained even more hospital experience while volunteering at the Erie County Medical Center.

Joe playing the drums.

The Residence Hall Association Executive Board

“My pre-health advisor talked to me about volunteering at Erie County Medical Center,” Joe said. “At first they weren’t sure what to do with me because I was on the general medicine/surgery floor. It gave me a look behind the scenes. Shadowing doctors, you see what they do, but you don’t see what else goes on around all the doctor activity. It was really cool.”

“I have no idea what kind of medicine I want to practice. I’ve been trying to narrow it down, but every time I shadow a different doctor, it opens up more possibilities.”

An Honors scholar, Joe has forged strong relationships with his Honors advisor, Karyn St. George, as well as with faculty members Kenneth Takeuchi (chemistry) and Marie Janicke (biological sciences).

Outside of his preparation for med school, Joe is president of the Residence Hall Association, coordinating programs to help students feel more at home on campus, and stays busy playing the drums. He’s involved in no less than 4 jazz bands, plays percussion for modern dance classes, performs in the Pep Band at UB intercollegiate athletic events, and still finds time to frequent the Jam Club, an informal student ensemble.

Joe playing the drums.

Hitting the books.

“I know there’s a big connection between surgeons and music, but at the same time, there’s also a degree of separation there,” Joe said. “As much fun as I have with medicine and as fascinated as I am by it, I know it’s going to be stressful. And that’s when drumming comes in, and I can take out all my tensions on my drum set. I have fun in both aspects of my life but in completely different ways.”

“My interests are very wide,” Joe said. “At UB, I feel like I can pursue all of them.”

Last updated: March 13, 2014 11:09 am EST