Published: March 24, 2016
Oligotrophic bacteria in a petrie dish

Like many others in the School of Arts and Sciences here at the University of Colorado, I have struggled to find my passion. My first year at CU, I had no idea what I truly wanted to do upon graduation. My advisor encouraged me to explore the classes that CU had to offer and, as my interest in  biology and microbiology was growing, I ended up enrolling for EBIO 1210 and 1230, General Biology and the lab that goes with it my sophomore year. I really enjoyed the class, but I still wasn’t completely certain of choosing EBIO as a major. It wasn’t until I enrolled in EBIO 2040, Principles of Ecology, that I really felt the EBIO major was for me. The class was awesome, but it was the lab that really got me. Our field trips and lab topics really made me feel what it would be like if I were to choose a career in the biological sciences, and I loved it.

However, my thirst for learning about microbes only grew stronger. I knew I wanted to learn everything about them, but it’s one thing to learn about them in a text book or online journals. It is a whole other thing to actually gain hands on experience. I would not have been able to if not for the EBIO Honors Thesis program. It got a fire going in me to actually seek out a lab and advisor to foster and facilitate my exploration in the field of microbiology – The Noah Fierer Lab. My honors thesis looks at the abundance and community composition of oligotrophic bacteria, methanotrophs, along a depth profile. Methanotrophs, along with the majority of bacteria, are difficult to cultivate and many types have yet to be cultivated in lab. Along with the depth analysis, I am also exploring ways to cultivate these bacteria, and I hope to discover bacteria with these new methods. I have truly started from the ground, and there’s nowhere to go but up.