campus wide alert

Alumni Highlights

Allen-Brittany-14.jpgBrittany Allen '14
Biology Major

"I chose Catawba over all the other BIG schools simply because of the class size and availability of the teachers. At Catawba, when you get into upper level science classes, you usually don’t have more than 20 students in your class.  At other school there could be 500 in one class.  Also, the professors at Catawba are always willing to take time and meet with you to help in any way possible. I have made great connections with my professors at Catawba that will last a lifetime!"

Research or Internship Experience:
I did a research project on ocean acidification. The research done at Catawba was valuable, it allows you to understand what is expected and if it is really something you want to do in the future.

Future Plans:
PA or Vet school

Advice for Science Students:
Don’t slack off your first year, it’s hard to pull a GPA back up! Stay focused and use all the resources Catawba offers. Don’t be afraid to ask for HELP!

clay-mallary-14.jpgMallary Clay '14
Biology Major

"The ecological preserve definitely led me to Catawba at first. Then, after meeting the staff and some of the students, I realized it was the perfect fit and that the students seemed a lot like me. The professors seemed to care more than most places, perhaps because of the size of the department. I could get specialized guidance, but learn broadly about biology. I wouldn’t change this decision if I could!"

Clay reports that she is “thrilled to call Catawba alma mater.” 

Future Plans:
Mallary successfully defended her graduate thesis at Auburn University in Molecular Ecology in July, 2016 to earn her Master of Science degree. Now, she is teaching freshmen biology at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tenn., while she ponders next steps in her career path.

Although she has been accepted into one medical school for a fall 2017 start, she is deciding on whether to pursue that path or one that would lead to a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.


mallaryclay17.jpgResearch or Internship Experience:
At Auburn, Clay worked with: 1) the genetics of several imperiled burrowing crayfish species to argue conservation efforts for genetically divergent populations; and 2) developing a noninvasive sampling method using environmental DNA to sample burrowing crayfish.

My undergraduate research that I completed at Catawba also concerned a burrowing crayfish species and it is currently in review for publication in “Behaviour.”  My graduate research is in preparation for publication in “Conservation Biology,” and I hope it will be published sometime in 2017.

I had an REU at Auburn University which was one of the best experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to develop professional skills as well as learn about research. The summer experience allowed me to know exactly what I wanted to do. The summer was also a fun experience. I worked to chip away at the vast unknown life history of crayfish, striving to understand juvenile recruitment of Cambarus diogenes. I wouldn’t trade my summer REU for anything. I also found it extremely helpful in applying to graduate schools and forming great connections to leaders in the freshwater ecology world.


Advice for Science Students:
I would definitely suggest an internship. I had an internship at a veterinarian office after my freshman year and found quickly that was not what I wanted to do; however, after my sophomore year internship, I found what I loved. This is the most important thing you can do.  My second advice would be to remember that a lot of learning is social. Looking back now, I wish I had known that opportunities often come based on who you know not what you know. Finally, remember to look at the big picture instead of details. You probably aren’t going to ace every test, but you can ace every semester. Don’t stress about the details or get overwhelmed by the work load.

heidt-kathryn-14.jpgKathryn Heidt '14
Biology Major

"I chose Catawba College because they gave me scholarship money and it was a simple option. However, the past several years have given me reason upon reason to choose Catawba for an undergrad science degree again if I had the chance to make a difference choice. Key professors made profound impressions on me with their sincere interest in me as more than a student. I was always warmly welcomed when I went to a professor’s office with hundreds of questions about the homework or simply for a chat. Attending various campus events and dinners with peers, students, and alumni opened my eyes to the community life that Catawba College embodies with all who come and go. The people here care. Before I had ever personally met the College President, he welcomed me by name. Being a smaller college, you can make your passions a reality. I was part of a group to start a campus organization that takes Biology into the surrounding area’s elementary schools. Events and fun opportunities are a constant occurrence. Catawba College, as with any school, is what you make of it. But if the effort and desire is there, it is a school you can make an awful lot of."

Research or Internship Experience:
I worked as an intern for the Plant Pathway Elucidation Project in the summer of 2013. It was a 40 hour/week job at the NC Research Campus and I gained a priceless experience that opened doors for me for years to come. I met many people that were able to advise me on graduate studies who will be useful contacts down the road. I got a lot of hands on wet lab experience as well as bioinformatics training using computers software to analyze genetic data. I would never have known how interested I am in these things if not for this internship. I highly recommend doing Summer internships. You never know your passions or lack thereof until you experience something first hand.

Future Plans:
Graduate school for Nutrition or Food Science (accepted Auburn University)

Advice for Science Students:
Discover how you want to learn. Professors can talk and explain, but only you can digest and utilize knowledge to better your life and impact you will have.  Don’t get discouraged when you feel overwhelmed. It will happen so just take a deep breath and realize how accomplished you will feel when it is over. “I think I can I think I can”  Don’t complain. Leave that to others. Be the one who uplifts, it will help you as well!

largo-mary-14.jpgMary Podgorak-Largo '14
Biology Major

"I transferred to Catawba because a big university just doesn't give you the one-on-one time with a professor. The professors at Catawba bend over backwards to help you succeed. They stay late to help with homework problems and make time for you if you just need someone to talk to! I definitely wouldn't be on the path I am without the group of professors who have helped mold me into a young professional."

Research or Internship Experience:
I did both a summer internship and did research experience at Catawba. I did an Independent Study on the germination ecology of an endangered species. I also did a summer internship at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. Both were extremely important in shaping my decision to go to medical school. Working in different fields allows you hands on experiences. It allows you to determine your personal likes and dislikes.

Future Plans:
Medical School

Advice for Science Students:
Get to know your professors. They are there to help you. More importantly you need to build a support system. They are the people to get you started. Take every opportunity and run with it. Even if it is not how you plan on spending the rest of your life. They may change your entire path. Form study groups. Especially for the Biology and Chemistry majors. You can all help each other and it makes study bearable.

myers-olivia-14.jpgOlivia Myers '14
Biology Major

"When I came on my recruiting visit to Catawba, I sat down and talked to a professor. I was excited to come to a place where I would get one on one attention from my professors. I also thought it would be valuable to have actual professors teach labs instead of teaching assistants. I feel that I have gained an extremely valuable science education because of this one on one attention."

Research or Internship Experience:
I had the opportunity to participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Georgia Tech. I conducted a research project on how spatial and temporal niches affect biodiversity in evolving metacommunities. I found this experience extremely valuable for learning how to design and carry out a scientific study in a real lab setting.

Future Plans:
Vet School - Accepted to NC State University

Advice for Science Students:
Do not wait until your last semester to take all of your science classes. I would say to try to take no more than 2 classes with labs a semester.  Work hard your first few years of college and it makes your senior year more enjoyable.  Don’t take your time in college for granted. It will fly by!

pahwa-sophie-14.jpgNamrata "Sophie" Pahwa '14
Biology Major

"I chose Catawba because it’s a private school and has a great science program. Now since I am a senior I can very proudly say I made a good decision. Every professor here is very encouraging and helpful. I give them the credit for bringing the best in me. College is fun and challenging."

Future Plans:

Advice for Science Students:
Don’t give up. Some subjects might be harder than the other. Just hang in there, and you will see things make sense gradually. Ask for help!! This is a private school and professors are willing to help, if you go and ask for it!!  Communicate with your advisors. They can guide you, since they are doing this from a long time and they know it very well.

thao-chia-14.jpgChia Thao '14
Biology Major

"The most valuable experience at Catawba is the professors always being there to help when asked about the material outside of class time and whenever I wanted to talk to them."

Future Plans:

Advice for Science Students:
Use all the helpful service Catawba provide or find out/ask what kind of services a college offer to help you to improve and be academically successful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help because it’s always better to ask then end up failing the course. No one wants to repeat a course or let a grade affect their GPA and prevent them from graduating on time.  Take variety of courses to find out what you really want to major in and not just the general education requirements or take courses outside of your major for a different experience.  Go to events/presentations held by the college to hear about ideas or information which is always a fun and interesting experience.

wike-sarah-14.jpgSarah Wike '14
Biology Major

"In all honesty, I didn’t pick Catawba exclusively because of the science departments. I didn’t even 'pick' Catawba at all; Catawba chose me. As soon as I stepped foot on campus for the first time, I immediately felt at home; it was almost like Catawba needed me to be here. Throughout my short time here, I have made more connections and had more experiences than I would have at any other institution for the sole fact that I found where I belonged. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I decided to go anywhere else besides Catawba. Catawba will forever be my home away from home. The absolute most valuable experience I had while at Catawba was the Marine Science course because I discovered my love of learning about the ocean and all of its processes. The dive trip to Bonaire made me curious and even more excited about the field. I can’t express enough through simple text how much this course meant to me. It was the spark that lit my fiery passion (and began the domino effect of research projects in the field) for coral ecology and global climate change. Heck, I loved this course so much I decided to study it for the rest of my career! "

Future Plans:
Graduate School for Marine Sciences

Research or Internship Experience:
Yes, I have been involved in several experiences outside of the classroom. I have done two independent studies and presented my research from one of the studies at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium. Presenting my research to other undergrad scientists was very encouraging in building my confidence in my work (presentations like this also look REALLY good on CVs for grad school!).  I am pursuing a university academia career path, and one experience last summer solidified my career choice. I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in a Field Botany and Ecology course offered to high school students through the Summer Ventures program. I got to see what a course is like from the other side of the classroom. It was very enlightening on the perspective of a professor and all the work that goes into preparing for a course. By the end of the summer, I had a revelation: I absolutely love teaching, and I am so proud of my students. I can’t imagine my life without academia; I guess I’m one of the rare students who would love to spend the rest of her life in college :-)

Advice for Science Students:
Talk to your professors; and yes, I mean outside of the class period. Don’t think you can float along for three years, having never made personal relationships with your professors and expect them to write you a good letter of recommendation for a job or grad school come senior year. They care about your future just as much as you do! I would have never found my passion if it weren’t for the professor-student relationships that I have made throughout my years at Catawba.   If you are seriously thinking about pursing the sciences (in fact, any major), take your Intro classes seriously. Yeah, they’re broad and can be pretty boring, but I have found myself looking back at my Intro class material for help in some of my upper-level classes.  Science majors (Bio and ENV, especially): don’t wait till your sophomore year to take Gen. Chem! Trust me, the quicker you get it over with, the better off you’ll be.  

cooke.jpgAna Cooke '12
Biology Major; Chemistry Minor

"I chose Catawba because it was the perfect fit for me. I knew that coming to Catawba would provide the best undergraduate experience for me, especially when it came to the learning atmosphere. I decided to major in Biology, and later minor in Chemistry, because I knew that I always wanted to go into medicine, and when I entered college I figured the best option would be to go the science, Pre-Med route. The Biology Department became almost a second family to me in my last few years at Catawba. I plan to continue to my education by going on to Physician's Assistant school, and I know that Catawba, especially the faculty and friends I came to know there, will help me reach my goals in the future."

hall.jpgCandace Hall '12
Biology Major

"I chose Catawba because I knew I would receive a much more personal experience at a small school. Every class I took at Catawba was small and all my professors were very helpful. I love animals and nature, which is why I chose to major in Biology, and my love for these things simply grew with my time and experiences at Catawba."

Jeff Blevins '12
Biology Major

"I really appreciate the care that the faculty has for the education of their students. I've always been interested in science and I chose to major in Biology because I love the intricacies of how things work in organisms, from the cellular level up. Going to school at Catawba was a great experience and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me in the future."

devlin.jpgSarah Devlin '12
Biology Major; 10-11 SGA Executive Vice-President

"I fell in love with Catawba as soon as I stepped foot on campus! Life as a Biology major is always exciting and the relationships I formed with my professors truly shaped my college experience! After graduation, I plan to attend Optometry school. I am so grateful for Catawba's tight-knit Biology Department that helped me achieve my goals as an undergraduate."

jackson.jpgLindsey Jackson '10
Physician's Assistant Student

"My first draw to Catawba was the Athletic Training Program, but the Lord had other plans for me. I chose Chemistry because it was what I was good at in high school, but turns out, after taking Microbiology, I am a biologist (particularly a microbiologist). My professors and advisors were there to support me and give me the encouragement I needed to graduate and find my calling, not as a physician, but as a physician's assistant.

I appreciate Catawba's Biology Department for introducing me to a world of angiosperms and gymnosperms, where all things have some sort of 'sex' — even bacteria, but allowing me, in the end, to have the freedom to choose projects and research that interest me!"


flynn.jpgLauren Flynn '08

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Catawba. I loved the small intimate classes from the first day my freshman year and then grew to love all the faculty of Catawba College, especially those in the science department. They are always there for you, friendly and willing to help."

alum_idol.jpgDavid Idol '09

Idol is employed at the Center for the Environment at Catawba as an intern in the Catawba Energy Corps program. Idol also serves as an adjunct biology lab instructor at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, and is an owner/operator at his family's farm, Legacy Farms of Kernersville, N.C. He has served as an organics lab tech with Research & Analytical Laboratories in Kernersville where he did environmental testing.


alum_hale.jpgLilia Repnikova-Hale '05
Physician's Assistant Student, Wake Forest University

"Catawba's professors provided me with the confidence to undertake and succeed in my desired goals. Personal attention gave me insight I would never have received at a larger college."

alum_newton.jpgSteven Newton '04
Medical Student, Wake Forest University

"I definitely learned a lot at Catawba. The education I received there has allowed me to be very competitive with students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. As a word of advice to those aspiring doctors out there — whatever you do ... TAKE ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY if you are thinking of going to med school!!! It will definitely help you."


Kristen N. Fobbs '03

"Catawba provided me with a "one-on-one" education. I was able to take full advantage of the knowledge and resources the faculty had to offer. My experience was a blessing in my life that I am truly grateful for and will never forget."

What Kristen likes about her job:
"Knowing my hard work will be used to help those suffering from cardiovascular disease."

alum_wilhem.jpgAshley J. Wilhelm '05
Graduate student at Wake Forest University

"I enjoyed every bit of the time that I spent at Catawba. The guidance of my professors and the research experience that I gained while at Catawba were instrumental in my acceptance into graduate school. The small class sizes in the sciences allowed me to receive hands on experience in a variety of areas. I left Catawba well prepared for graduate school. I do not think that I would be where I am today if I had not received such an excellent education at Catawba."

What Ashley liked best about Catawba:
"The professors. When I was choosing a college, one of the most important things was that I didn’t want to be just a number. At Catawba, all of the professors made an effort to learn everyone’s name on the first day of class. Outside of class, if they saw me on campus they would always speak and say hello. Their doors were never closed to students. I know that my professors genuinely cared about my education and my future and I respect them greatly for that. I give them a lot of credit for me being where I am today."

Why Catawba?
"When you choose Catawba, you become part of a family. You will always feel at home at Catawba."


alum_slaughter.jpgJonathan L. Slaughter '00
M.D., Wake Forest University School of Medicine; Pediatric Resident, Medical University of South Carolina

"Catawba gave me a chance to grow both academically and also to discover my ideals. I received a wonderful undergraduate science and liberal arts education in small classes taught by caring professors. Our science lab experiences were perfectly sized for learning the fundamentals of biology and chemistry. Catawba gave me the chance to serve in leadership positions through many clubs and organizations, and college sports (cross country)."

What Jonathan likes about his job: "Working with children and helping sick children get better."

alum_mckinnon.jpgElizabeth Hewitt McKinnon '05
Graduate Student at UNC-Chapel Hill

"While at Catawba, I learned more about myself and became more independent. The smaller classes and one-on-one instruction from the faculty helped me succeed as well as reach my goal of Physical Therapy school."


Alex C. Whitley '00
Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina; 2nd yr. medical student at the University of Alabama @ Birmingham

"Catawba being a small college provided two things for my current success — accountability and unique opportunities in the classroom setting that aren't feasible at larger schools."

alum_proctor.jpgAlisha Proctor '93
Histology Technical Supervisor

"I can remember the lab's that were assigned with the science courses were such a burden. However, I have to admit, I use the information I was taught in my line of work. I think Catawba's education contributed to my being able to find my interests. Then, it enabled me to enter the workforce with confidence and independence."


Jeremy Mabe '97
Toxicologist, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company

"Most of my academic memories of Catawba revolve around the Science building with class, labs, and late night study sessions. I learned the basis of all the science I do today in that building. From how to balance a checkbook, to how to identify unknown bacteria, my days at Catawba were filled with valuable learning experiences."

Kurt Cribb '02
Special Projects Coordinator

"My Catawba education helped me grow as a person and helped me see the world around me a little differently. I am more open-minded to the views of others. I learned to listen to colleagues' points of views, which always help me learn more about them."

Holly Myers Weir '00
M.S., Wake Forest University; Faculty, Davidson County Community College

"I have used instructing techniques I saw at Catawba to help my students learn the material. I have also been able to provide ideas on curriculum requirements by comparing what coursework I took at Catawba."

Holly worked on an exciting project that investigated a cancer resistant mouse model which was showcased on CNN and other news stations. Her husband, Michael, is a '99 Environmental Science major graduate. Michael is a water treatment plant operator.

alum_frye.jpgChris T. Frye '89
M.S., Wake Forest University; State Botanist, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

"I was well prepared for the more intensive and self-directed coursework and research required of graduate students."


Cybil Dyson Jones '00
P.A., East Carolina University

"The individual educational attention I received at Catawba was a huge key to my success in academics."

Kimberly Chichester '99
Graduate student at Wake Forest University

"I truly enjoyed how close knit the community was. I felt like I knew everyone and that we all had a vested interest in each other. This was true of both the student body and the faculty. I did not fully appreciate the time my professors gave me until I saw how little interaction students had with professors at larger schools."

Chris Bullers '02
Medical student at East Carolina University

"I don't think I could have had a better academic experience. I have as yet to meet anyone since graduation that I felt had a better undergraduate science background than what I received at Catawba. It's a good feeling to walk into a job or graduate school and have confidence that you are prepared for whatever they need."