‘There are so many hands-on opportunities at NDSU’

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NDSU students participate in research that is meaningful, lasting and helps the community.

A perfect example is a study under the direction of John McEvoy, professor and chair of microbiological sciences. As the COVID-19 pandemic goes on, McEvoy and NDSU seniors Carlee Schroeter and Garrett Levin are taking a novel approach to tracking the virus.

They trace COVID through wastewater samples collected in more than 20 cities and communities around North Dakota.

The valuable work is an important merger of learning and service.

“Students learn key technical skills in molecular biology. More importantly, they learn how to function as a member of an interdependent team,” McEvoy said. “Each day, our students produce critical data that is used by agencies and institutions across the state to guide public health decisions.”

Schroeter and Levin receive the samples, concentrate the virus and then extract the genetic material for testing.

“I am learning how to handle a virus in a lab research setting and new viral detection and processing techniques that will be useful in future labs,” said Schroeter, a microbiology major from Fargo. “This experience is providing a solid base for me to move forward in my research career goals.”

The project is in partnership with the state Department of Environmental Quality and will continue as long as needed. Tracing COVID through wastewater allows the researchers to include people who may be asymptomatic or positive cases that haven’t been tested and officially counted.

“The work in the lab has helped prepare me for the future by demonstrating the collaborative effort of both lab mates and between different state organizations. The lab work has shown the importance of clear communication, a characteristic which will prove crucial in any future career,” said Levin, a microbiology major from West Fargo.

Helping make a better world – that’s the bottom line for NDSU student research.

“I suggest NDSU to anyone thinking about going to college, especially if they have an interest in scientific research,” Schroeter said. “There are so many opportunities, in many departments at NDSU, so you’ll get job experience as you earn your degree.”

Levin agrees. “By attending NDSU, I have been presented with opportunities that have allowed me to understand what I want in a future career. Advisers have supported me and have presented opportunities to me that have solidified my desire to pursue a career in science,” he said. “If you attend NDSU, you will be met with advisers and staff who want nothing more than to see you succeed.”

Have an impact. Start your NDSU experience today.