Q&A with genetics and cell biology student Bayley McDonald

Bayley McDonald hopes to pursue a doctorate when she graduates from WSU this coming spring to better prepare her for a career in scientific research. From Conifer, Colorado, Bayley is a genetics and cell biology major in the School of Molecular Bioscience and is a member of the college’s prestigious accelerated degree program, Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies (STARS), in which students can earn a PhD in as little as seven years after graduating high school.

How has WSU prepared you for your future?

WSU has prepared me for understanding molecular biology and how to read scientific papers. Both are extremely important in wanting to be in a research field about genetics.

What’s your favorite thing about WSU?

My favorite thing about WSU is how much it supports undergraduate research. I just love how professors want to take in and teach undergraduates. Every lab I’ve been a part of encourages their undergraduates to take on projects and expand their knowledge.

What’s your favorite course you’ve taken at WSU?

My favorite course I’ve taken was Honors 290 taught by Dr. Lane Wallet. This class was on the history of life. It taught me a lot about how we are able to come to different conclusions about how evolution occurred and how we define life. Plus, I got to write a paper on how we could reverse engineer a chicken to become a velociraptor, which was a lot of fun to research and present.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? 

I hope to continue my studies by getting a PhD. I believe going to graduate school and getting a PhD is a good steppingstone for preparing me for a career in research.

Do you work in a lab at WSU?

I am working in Dr. Duttke’s lab. Currently, I am doing bioinformatic work that involves analyzing large sequencing data. I take this data and compare it across species to see any similarities between the results, which then can be further analyzed.

What’s one of your favorite hobbies?

I would have to say that my favorite hobby is horseback riding. There is something about working with horses that brings me immense satisfaction and seems to ground my mind.

What’s a unique fact about you?

I am a part of the STARS program, which is an accelerated program associated with the School of Molecular Biology. The idea of this program is to help me get my PhD in as little as seven years.