Microbiology grad nerded out, studied abroad, got inspired about medicine

Microbiology major Ashley Cotter plans to combine her passion for learning and love of children in a career as a pediatrician. Yet her academic drive didn’t limit Cotter to studying microbiology – she minored in Spanish, loves to travel, and found ways to combine her passions during her time as an undergraduate.

Like many students, Cotter was at first interested in many areas of study at Colorado State University. She stumbled on microbiology her sophomore year.

“Finding microbiology was incredibly important to me because I found new friends that I can nerd out with about the same things, and classes I am so interested in,” Cotter said.

It was her fascination with bacteria and viruses that set her on a path to a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, and eventually, applying to medical school.

Path to pediatrics


More than 2,000 students will graduate from Colorado State University during fall 2016 commencement  Dec. 16-18. Students in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will earn bachelor’s degrees in four undergraduate majors: biomedical sciences, environmental health, microbiology and neuroscience. Meet one of our great grads!

Studying abroad has given Cotter the ability to use her Spanish-speaking skills to help people in need. While volunteering at a medical clinic in Costa Rica, she was humbled and inspired by patients who waited hours to receive medical care. “I want to be able to help people, even with the small things,” Cotter said.

Upon graduation in December, Cotter intends to travel before applying for medical school. During her time off she will continue her job as a nanny, which has enriched her love of children and inspired her to one day be a pediatrician.

An introvert, Cotter’s biggest struggle in starting college was interacting with others. Living in the dorms helped her overcome the fear of meeting new people; in fact, her experience in a residence hall was one of her favorite aspects of college. “The best friends and the greatest support system came from my floor mates,” Cotter said.

Cotter’s advice to new students: Take advantage of study abroad opportunities and follow your passion. She encourages students to “find what you’re interested in, otherwise it’s too much work. If you love it, it won’t seem like effort at all.”

State Your Purpose

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