Katie Anderson ‘20

Marble Scholar and Model of Perseverance
UNH  biomedical science major Katie Anderson '20

Katie Anderson ’20 has already accomplished much to be proud of. She is part of a small but growing cohort of Marble Scholars, students who have been awarded the prestigious Charles F. Marble Scholarship and, in accordance with the scholarship’s terms, serves as an ambassador for the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA). But for the junior from Pepperell, Massachusetts, acclimating to the academic demands of her major, Biomedical Science: Medical Laboratory Science, has not been without challenges.

COLSA: Looking back on your time at UNH so far, what are you most proud of and why?

Katie Anderson: I'm most proud of being the first Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) major to become a Marble Scholar. The position has given me opportunities to be a voice for the MLS program in appearances at open houses and other campus-wide events. I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to interact with prospective students and teach them about COLSA and all the amazing programs within it.

COLSA: What motivates you?

Anderson: I've always been serious about my academics, but when I came to college it was difficult to adjust to the rigor of my Biomedical Science program. There have been times when I doubted myself and didn't feel I was cut out for the path I had chosen. Ironically, it was failure that motivated me to pass.

Every time I failed an exam, lab report, or even a small homework assignment, I felt that heavy sense of disappointment. Every time it would happen I'd think to myself, “This is what you'll feel all the time if you give up.” That is usually what it takes to get myself back in the game, and that's when I can turn things around. Of course the doubts will still come up once in a while, but I can always rely on the support of family and friends to get me through it.

COLSA: Why did you choose your major?

Anderson: When I tell people my major, they usually have no idea what it is. Medical Laboratory Science is one of those "hidden gem" career paths, and that's what I love about it. When you visit the doctor's office for blood work, a sore throat, or even some type mystery illness, medical laboratory scientists are the ones that do the detective work to give your doctor answers. Not many patients consider them as part of the process, but these are the people responsible for the ultimate diagnosis. When I learned about this career I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of it.

COLSA: What are you planning to do after graduation?

Anderson: My short-term goal is to graduate and earn my accreditation as a certified medical laboratory scientist. The MLS program at UNH is designed to guide students through this process so they can leave knowing they have a secure career waiting for them.

As to what exactly I'll be doing with that certification in the long run, I'm not completely sure yet. I'm currently exploring all my options in the field to find what makes me happiest.

COLSA: How is your experience at UNH preparing you to achieve your goals?

Anderson: The MLS program here at UNH is all about preparation for entering the medical field, and it's the professors that make it all possible.  I've found that having relationships with them and asking them questions about what I should be striving for has been the most helpful in creating and achieving my goals.

COLSA: Any advice for students interested in your major?

Anderson: My advice for anyone looking into the Medical Laboratory Science major is to keep asking questions! Whether you've known about the program for years or minutes, it's likely that there's a lot for you to learn about the major and the opportunities for those in it.

When I was researching the program here at UNH I learned  quickly that there was only so much I could find online, and what I could find didn't always make sense to me since I wasn't very versed on the field. It was having the courage to reach out to students and professors in the major and get my questions answered that made all the difference in my decision. To this day, I'm still asking my peers and professors questions, and I never regret getting answers!

COLSA: Finally, tell us one reason you love UNH.

Anderson: When I first visited UNH as a high school senior, I remember being shocked about how nice everyone was to me! I had toured many other campuses before I came here and there was no other school that came close to the hospitality of UNH. From the person working the booth in the parking lot, to the admissions counselors, to the tour guides, and even people on the street that I stopped to ask for directions, not a single person refused to answer my questions.

Now as a junior here, I know firsthand how hard the university works to tend to the needs of all prospective students, and if you're ever at an event or tour on campus you're sure to see it for yourself.

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