Q&A with microbiology student Stephen Fawcett

Stepehn with a mountain waterfall behind him.

Stephen Fawcett is making the most of his time as an undergraduate student at WSU, double majoring in microbiology and Spanish, while also having gained research experience in three labs. From Bend, Oregon, Stephen is also a member of the STARS program, in which students have unique research opportunities as undergraduates and can earn a doctorate in as little as seven years. He also hopes to graduate with minors in jazz studies and German, and he is on pace to graduate in the spring of 2024. 

How has WSU prepared you for your future?

WSU has really helped me prepare for my career because of the access to hands-on learning. I want to be a researcher, and I have been able to work in three labs so far. That, combined with some excellent science courses, has made me feel good about applying to graduate school.

What’s your favorite thing about WSU?

My favorite thing about WSU is all the different opportunities. There are a lot of things undergrads can do here that usually aren’t offered at other universities, like TA positions, mentoring programs, research, internships, etc.

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

Shockingly, my favorite course at WSU has been an English course! This was solely because of the professor, DJ Lee. I never liked essays until I met her. It was basically a space for creativity and discussion.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? 

When I graduate, I would like to attend graduate school and pursue a PhD in microbiology. Eventually, I want to run my own virology lab and study viruses that threaten vulnerable populations in other countries. 

Do you have a job or work in a lab or somewhere else?

I am currently in my second rotation as a STARS student at WSU in the Goodman lab. I am studying innate immune suppression by West Nile virus in the hopes that we can uncover potential targets for reducing viral load in mosquito vectors. 

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I really enjoy cooking and doing outdoor stuff. Central Oregon is a really beautiful area, so I’ve always loved going on hikes, swimming, river floating, etc.

What’s a unique fun fact about you?

A fun fact about me is that I am an English citizen! My mom was born in England.