Where Our Grads Go

Graduates of the NDSU microbiology program are well prepared for various career paths, including careers in the health sciences, biomedical industries, biotechnology, agricultural biosystems, food industries, pharmaceutical industries, and government agencies. In addition, many of our microbiology majors pursue professional or graduate school.

To give you specific examples of what you might do with a microbiology major from NDSU, we’re dedicating this section of the website to profiles of our former undergraduate students. Check back often, as this page will be periodically updated with new profiles.

Tanner Rothstein

Tanner graduated in December 2015 with a BS in Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry. Although considering graduate school options, Tanner opted to go into the biotechnology industry to gain laboratory experience and knowledge. He currently works at Microbiologics in St. Cloud, MN as an Industrial Quality Control Technician. This position focuses on the maintaining the consistency and integrity of enumerated quality control lyophilized (freeze-dried) microorganism “pellets” for use in labs around the world. Within this position, Tanner utilizes knowledge of biochemical tests, microbial growth rates and requirements as well as sophisticated laboratory equipment including Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF) identification to accurately assess Microbiologics’ QC organisms.

Tanner grew up in Rockville, MN and attended NDSU after graduating from ROCORI High School in Cold Spring, MN. While at NDSU, Tanner started as a University Studies major taking several general science courses. After he took an introductory course in Microbiology, Tanner quickly changed his major to Microbiology. Through his tenure at NDSU, Tanner was involved in Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, Mortar Board National Honor Society, as well as being a member of the NDSU Basketball practice squad. Tanner credits NDSU for having the academic advisors and leaders to guide his love for science into an applicable field. He also credits NDSU’s “student-focused” curriculum approach for allowing to work with other majors around campus on his senior capstone project (Bison Microventure) which involved working with manufacturing and industrial engineers in the development of a perfusion cell culture device.

In the future, Tanner plans to use his lab experience to move into a Research and Development role and potentially attend graduate school for Microbial Engineering.

Becky Schmidt

Becky graduated in May 2014 with a BS in Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry. She started the Masters of Public Health program in the management of infectious disease track during the fall of 2014. She is currently taking classes on a part time basis while working as a full time public health sanitarian (aka health inspector) for Otter Tail County Public Health.

Becky transferred to NDSU in 2011 and as an undergrad, and worked in the Veterinary and Diagnostic Lab for about a year. During her junior year, she began working in the research side of the department under Dr. Teresa Bergholz, where her interest of infectious disease, particularly foodborne illnesses, blossomed. Becky had the opportunity to assist other graduate students with their research projects as well as conduct my own research. Her project involved molecular work with the foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes and was centered on the ability of this bacterium to elicit a stress response in the presence of the food preservative, Nisin. In the summer of 2015, Becky accepted a full time position as a public health sanitarian for Otter Tail County. Her background in Microbiology, coupled with the research experience she had at NDSU was instrumental in acquiring this job. Becky uses the skills she learned at NDSU on a daily basis- whether it is communicating food safety issues to operators or performing risk based inspections at local establishments. Her responsibility as a sanitarian is to develop, administer, and enforce the environmental health program of Otter Tail County. This entails the enforcement of several different local, state, and federal codes pertaining to food, pool, and lodging establishments, as well as campgrounds, youth camps, and non-community public water supplies. Becky says “My education and research experience at NDSU gave me the necessary tools to gain full time employment in a field that I thoroughly enjoy.”

Kouevi Kodjovi

Originally from Togo, Africa, Kouevi joined the Biotechnology program at NDSU in 2011. Kouevi’s interest in microbes as a child led his desire to learn more about disease causing microbes, and methods for diagnosing illnesses as quickly as possible. During his time at NDSU, he was in the McNair Scholars Program, which facilitated his research experience and allowed him many professional development opportunities. He researched how the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes responds to food preservatives, and was able to present his work at the annual American Society for Microbiology meeting in 2014. He graduated in December 2014, and joined the Masters of Laboratory Science program at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis. He credits his experiences at NDSU in developing his lab skills and ability to solve problems. Kouevi will graduate with his Masters in December 2017, and plans to serve as a manager for a clinical microbiology or molecular diagnostic laboratory.

Bridget Eklund

Bridget Eklund graduated from NDSU in spring 2016 with a BS in Microbiology and minor in Chemistry. She just started her first year at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO in the Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology (MIP) PhD program, and she fully enjoys living in Colorado and the Fort Collins area.

Bridget grew up in Scandia, MN and came to NDSU after graduating high school from Hill-Murray in Maplewood, MN. She started as a Biotechnology major and started working in Dr. Nathan Fisher’s bacteriology lab her first year. Her interest in microbiology soon increased exponentially as she started conducting independent research in the lab. She presented her research involving cockroaches and the bacterial pathogen Francisella tularensis at the 2015 ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting in Washington, DC, as well as several other conferences. From this experience, she knew she wanted to further her education and research experiences through pursuing a PhD.

Currently, Bridget is attending CSU as a first-year graduate student. She is in the middle of her second lab rotation out of a total of three. Her first rotation involved the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a BSL-3 lab. Her current rotation investigates shifts in the microbiomes of mice after vaccination through a Lactobacillus acidophilus basedprobiotic-vaccine. She is interested in the microbiome field because it combines immunology, bacteriology, and computer sciences. Additionally, Bridget is now a coach for a Fort Collins high school Science Olympiad team and involved in elementary school outreach through the GAUSSI program (Generating, Analyzing, and Understanding Sensory and Sequencing Information).

During her time at NDSU, Bridget was president of the Biotechnology and Microbiology Club for two years, a member of the Honor commission, recipient of the Barry Goldwater and Astronaut scholarships, and a teaching assistant for several microbiology courses. These experiences, as well as many others, prepared her for graduate school and where she is today.