Brant Nikolaus

Photo of Brant Nikolaus.
  • M.D. Student
    • Class of 2012

The fourth of eight children, Brant grew up in a small country town in rural Arizona. He enjoyed his busy life on the small farm, where he learned all about hard work and discipline, but it was the respect and awe he felt for his family's rural physician that stoked his passion to learn more and to try something different.

Brant is the first person in his family to graduate from college and much to his family's delight, the first Nikolaus to go to medical school. "I was born into circumstances that gave me certain disadvantages, but I didn't let those define who I was or what happened to me. Instead, I took those circumstances and made them work for what I wanted and what I have done with my life."

Why did you choose medicine as a career?

"From as far back as I can remember I was fascinated by how the body worked. I was always asking how and why. Also, in my opinion, medicine is the only career in which you must be a life-long learner and I love to learn."

When choosing your school, how did Mayo Medical School differentiate itself?

"The MMS small class size really appealed to me. I had a reverence for Mayo Clinic and its history of outstanding medical treatment; I knew I would be honored to be a part of it. Considering my background situation, the MMS financial aid program was a huge bonus as well."

What surprised you about MMS and Rochester?

"How approachable and committed the MMS faculty is to making each student a standout physician. Also, the innovative curriculum with the Selectives program is very self-directed learning and that's my favorite way to learn."

"What surprised me about Rochester is how much I liked it right away and how quickly I acclimated to the Minnesota winters; they are not nearly as bad as I thought."

What is your goal after all of this?

"I plan on going into surgery, possibly orthopedic, neuro, or ENT. My wife and I really like Rochester and we would be interested in staying here for residency."

  • March 20, 2014
  • PRO394656