Jonathan Urbanczyk '11

Jonathan Urbanczyk

From a biomedical science major at McMurry to Intern of the Year in the residency program at the prestigious Scott & White Medical Center in Temple wasn’t as tough as it might sound for Jonathan Urbanczyk ’11.

There was medical school in-between, of course, but Jonathan was confident that his professors at McMurry had challenged him enough that he would make it. “I felt very well prepared,” Jonathan said, citing professors such as Dr. Tom Benoit, Dr. Larry Sharp, Dr. Gary Wilson, and Dr. Hyunshun Shin.

His professors were confident, too. Wilson, chairman of the Department of Biology at McMurry, said the faculty knew from day one that Urbanczyk was destined for good things in medical school and beyond. “Obviously, we were right,” Wilson said.

Urbanczyk earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from McMurry in December 2011. His girlfriend since their sophomore year at Cooper High School, Meagan Ake ’12, graduated from McMurry, and they were off and running.

Now married, they live in Temple and Meagan teaches fifth grade. Before getting accepted into the residency program in internal medicine at Scott & White, Jonathan earned his medical degree from the University of North Texas’ Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth.

That’s where Jonathan found out that he had made the right decision in choosing McMurry over another university, which he briefly considered. Jonathan grew up in Abilene and his mother and grandmother both attended McMurry. The clincher for Jonathan came when McMurry added a biomedical science major in 2008. Jonathan was in the first round of students to earn the new major.

Success has followed Jonathan ever since. From earning his medical degree to being accepted at a premiere residency program like Scott & White to being named Intern of the Year, Jonathan is the definition of success.

He wasn’t surprised that he got the medical degree after leaving McMurry so well prepared, but the intern award was another thing. The program consists of about 70 residents who vote on one of 40 interns for the honor. “It was a complete surprise,” Jonathan said.

Some of the comments on his nomination forms said he was “hard working,” “positive,” and “stays late. “Those same traits were evident at McMurry, said Wilson, one of Jonathan’s former professors.

“He was always one of our favorite students,” Wilson said, “upbeat, hard-working, tireless.” To prove how tireless he was, Jonathan, in his “spare time,” entered a poster he had made as part of a research project in Wilson’s advanced microbiology class in the Undergraduate Research Festival at Abilene Christian University. Jonathan won first place.

Today, that poster hangs in Wilson’s lab at McMurry. Jonathan really didn’t have any spare time while he was a student at McMurry. He worked four jobs, including in the emergency room at Hendrick Medical Center.

His hard work and dedication were noticed, Wilson said, and that is one advantage of a small university. Students can’t hide from professors. By the time they graduate, faculty will know everything about them.

When Wilson visits with high school students, he emphasizes how important that relationship is. Professors can guide a student’s education in the right direction for success. And, they are able to write letters of recommendation emphasizing a student’s strengths. Before coming to McMurry, Wilson was at one of the 10 largest universities in the country. “The Jonathans of the world remind me that I made a great decision to join the McMurry faculty,” Wilson said.

Jonathan still has a long road ahead. He wants to specialize in cardiology, which will require three to four additional years’ study after one more year in internal medicine.

Once all the schooling is complete, don’t be surprised to see Jonathan practicing medicine and Meagan teaching school in Abilene, hometown to both. “There’s definitely a thought of it,” Jonathan said.