Q&A with microbiology student Caitlyn Patel

Caitlyn Patel in a field of wild Lupine.

Caitlyn Patel is a testament to the education opportunities provided at #WSU. Originally from Vancouver, Washington, Caitlyn opted to switch her major to microbiology once she realized how much fun she was having in her Microbiology 101 lab. She plans to continue her education after graduating this December so she can work in a clinical laboratory. “Right now, I am looking into medical laboratory science programs,” she said.

Where are you from and where did you graduate high school?

I am from Vancouver, Washington. I graduated from Columbia River High school and originally came to WSU as a pre-nursing major. I switched to microbiology my sophomore year.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I am a huge animal lover. I ride horses and teach young riders jumping during the summer months. I also have three big dogs who keep me on my toes. During quarantine I made the most of my time by staying outdoors, hiking and camping with my dogs and family.  

What’s your favorite thing about WSU?

I absolutely love the scenery that WSU has to offer. Some of the best sunsets I have witnessed were right on campus at Thompson Flats. 

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

My favorite course at WSU is Virology with Dr. Lánier Sanchez. The content alone is fascinating, but I really enjoyed how interesting she made all the lectures by sharing her own experiences. There were also lots of guest speakers included to help prepare us for what we might expect for a future in science. I find those lectures to be valuable because they allow us to gain insight on career options that we may not have considered before.

What’s a unique fun fact about you?

I love to travel. I have visited over 14 countries and I hope to continue traveling in the future. My most recent trip was to Iceland and it certainly made me think about microbiology. The landscape is gorgeous and continues to flourish even with such dramatic freezing weather and boiling thermal hot spots. The support microbes give to the environment amazes me.  

What are your career goals? 

When I graduate this December, I want to continue my education. Right now, I am looking into medical laboratory science programs so I can work in a clinical lab. I really want to stay in the medical side of microbiology to help people and it would be really cool to pursue research. Ultimately, if I could merge my love for microbiology and traveling into a career that would be the dream.