Make The Connection

Big Opportunities in Microbiology

October 28, 2019 – by Madison Bridger ’21

Ohio Wesleyan student Catie Babbs ’21 completed a National Science Foundation-funded research experience over the summer that included researching parasites and getting to hold a baby shark. (Photo courtesy of Catie Babbs)

Ohio Wesleyan Student Gets NSF-Funded Internship Studying Bacteria, Helping Grizzly Bears

Name: Catie Babbs ’21
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Majors: Microbiology and History
Minor: Chemistry
OWU Connection Experience: National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Georgia Southern University

Babbs spent her summer researching bacteria in salmon that was proving fatal to grizzly bears as they were reintroduced into the wild in Washington State. She worked under the mentorship of Stephen Greiman, Ph.D., in the Department of Biology at Georgia Southern University.

Catie Babbs ’21 and others working at Georgia Southern University over the summer helped with an oyster restoration project. (Photo courtesy of Catie Babbs)

Why I Chose This Experience

“I am an aspiring microbiologist, so I chose a program that had something to do with microbiology and/or molecular microbiology.

“Though the name of the department I worked in was Intercoastal Plain Science/Biology, the project I participated in was a molecular biology, parasitology one, which I found interesting.”

My Favorite Moment

“My favorite moment of the REU was working with my mentor, Dr. Stephen Greiman, and his lab on my research project. They were very welcoming and helpful during my whole research project.”

Lessons Learned

“During my research experience, I learned how to consolidate my research findings into a clear presentation that was easily understood by non-scientists. This skill helped to better my writing in my classes, both science and non-science classes.

“The experience of doing my own research project bettered my understanding of the life and work of a scientist. Also, my laboratory practices for my research project and field practices that were part of our REU program’s fieldtrips helped me to decide that I would rather do laboratory research than field research.

“The overall experience of winning a competitive internship and gaining laboratory research experience will put me in a good position for getting into graduate school. Experiences like this are important because they give aspiring scientists experience that looks good to graduate schools, and they can help determine if a particular field of science is for you.”

My Plans After Graduation

“After I graduate from OWU, I plan on going to graduate school to get my Ph.D. in Infectious Disease Microbiology.” 

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose to come to OWU because this school has a microbiology major, and it has a scanning electron transmission microscope (STEM), which I found really cool. I now work with Dr. (Laura) Tuhela-Reuning on the STEM.”