The following interview is part of a series the College of Science conducted with some of our alumni. While their experiences and career paths vary widely, their passion for science and love for the College and OSU tie them together.
Katherine Ganio ('09)
Major: Biochemistry & Biophysics
Additional Education: M.S. in Environmental Science at the University of Melbourne (’13), Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne (’17)
Occupation: Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne
Why did you choose to study at OSU?
OSU gave me the most flexibility in course selection compared to the other universities I had been accepted to. I knew I wanted to study science but I didn't know which field. OSU let me take a diverse range of different science subjects until I decided to pursue biochemistry and biophysics.
What led you to choose your major and career path?
I love science and chemistry – and more specifically the chemistry that occurs within us to drive so many essential processes.
How did the College of Science prepare you for your future career?
The quality and diversity of courses offered by the College of Science helped me to realize all of the different fields of research in science. I was able to continue to pursue these different interests as I continued in my academic career, because I had the fundamental knowledge from these courses to be successful.
Describe your career? How are you making a difference?
I use analytical techniques to determine how pathogenic bacteria obtain essential nutrients in order to develop novel antimicrobials. This is important because many traditional antimicrobials are becoming less effective so we need to find new ways at destroying pathogens that cause infection and disease.
What might people be surprised to learn about your profession?
I wear many hats every day. I do microbiology assays, biochemistry assays and develop analytical techniques – and because of this, it’s difficult to identify my title in one or two words.
How were you involved in the OSU community?
I was a volunteer for the exchange student welcoming committee, specifically with a sister-school in Saudi Arabia. I helped exchange students from Saudi become familiar with the OSU campus services and the city of Corvallis in general. I also played trumpet in the OSU symphonic band and worked at Dixon Recreation Center as a lifeguard instructor. I worked as a research assistant for nearly four years in Professor Joseph Beckman’s Lab at the Linus Pauling Institute.
What is one favorite College of Science memory?
I met my husband in organic chemistry because he was in my study group. Four years later when we got married, we had the likeness of the organic chemistry book as our wedding cake.
Was there a particular professor or advisor who made an impact in your undergraduate career?
Kevin Ahern from the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. He helped me find research experience while I was an undergrad and this experience has been the foundation of all of my future scientific/career successes.
What did you do for fun to de-stress from schoolwork?
I played soccer and the trumpet. Also, going to Beaver baseball and football games and gymnastics meets were my favorite thing to do for fun with friends.
If you could give a future College of Science student advice, what would it be?
Form study groups when you can! They can be a huge help to study for courses, and you can make friends. Make sure to have hobbies or interests outside of science, because it helps to have that balance.