Oct. 5, 2023

‘I’ve had a huge amount of opportunities’

NDSU’s microbiology program is designed to give students a background in a wide range of specialized interest areas that can lead to an innovative and rewarding career.

Microbiology faculty work with students to discover and communicate microbiological solutions to local, national and global challenges. The program prepares students to research and work on improving human and animal health, agriculture, environment, food technology and safety, biotechnology and more. 

“I think microbiology is well suited to students with a strong imagination that can help to conceptualize the microbial world which shapes and impacts the environment, our food production and our health,” said Barney Geddes, assistant professor of microbiological sciences. “I love seeing when a key concept first clicks for a student and how it opens a new level of understanding and perspective on other things they have learned.”

The Bachelor of Science degree also gives students the option to pursue further education in specialized subject areas. Master’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology also are available at NDSU.

“NDSU is a great size that allows a balance of world-leading research and education while also maintaining a tight-knit community where you are constantly recognizing friends and colleagues across campus,” Geddes said.

Mia Haugen is a senior majoring in microbiology and biotechnology. She gained interest in the microbiology program after taking a soil ecology class. “I realized there was this hidden world of microbes around us that are a part of many different biological processes and I wanted to learn more about those,” said Haugen, from Bemidji, Minnesota.

She found that the advisors and faculty were very supportive. They helped integrate her into the program, find research and scholarship opportunities, and decide which classes she should take to benefit her career.

“Since joining the microbiology program, I’ve had a huge amount of opportunities available to me. Being in a lab since my freshman year has taught me tons of different technical skills that I will use no matter what career I go into. I love how much the faculty are invested in me doing better as a student. It’s been great being able to work with a team.”

Haugen was surprised at the wide variety of majors at NDSU and the opportunities to meet different people. Her involvement in clubs on campus has given her leadership experience and introduced her to the industry side of microbiology. One of her best experiences has been with the Genetic Engineering Corps of NDSU.

“The club takes part in an international competition that involves students from all types of disciplines, so you build teams with people that are learning very different things than you to complete all the objectives. We have faculty advisors that are there to help us on our journey, but our project is student-led, so we get to make the decisions. I think my involvement in this club is going to serve me very well in the future,” Haugen said.

Haugen is working on the accelerated master’s program at NDSU and plans to pursue a doctorate in microbiology. She hopes to eventually study astrobiology or work at a biotechnology company to produce synthetic materials to support a more sustainable world. 

Apply today to begin your NDSU experience as you work toward a successful career.

See more of Mia’s experience with the microbiological sciences program at the official university YouTube channel.


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