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Kate Petros '08

Eavesdropping on a conversation with Kaitlin Petros, you might hear references to instruments and heavy metal. Don’t get the wrong impression. She’s talking about her biochemistry research, not her next Metallica concert. As an undergraduate research assistant for chemistry professor Sue Sutheimer, she worked on a project studying mercury and other heavy metal levels in Vermont’s fisher cat population. One of the instruments Kait uses is the atomic absorption spectrometer, which enables testing for heavy metal content.

“Biochemistry is my absolute favorite subject. It’s about so many things that happen in your body that you just don’t think about,” she says. A biology major/chemistry minor at GMC, Kait is now studying at the School of Medicine at the University of Vermont.

“Undergraduates don’t normally have the great access and time with the equipment that our students get here,” says biology professor Natalie Coe. “It’s a real advantage for them.”

One of the instruments Kait got to use is the atomic absorption spectrometer, which enables researchers to test for heavy metal content. Quite a mouthful, but the sophisticated equipment provides undergraduates with excellent training, whether they plan to go on to graduate school or begin professional lab work.

Kait had her sights on medical school since she was six years old. “I’ve always known I wanted to be a doctor, and I’m really interested in pediatrics,” she says. “My sister is a nurse, and I joke with her that some day she’ll come work for me.”

A look at Kait’s college schedule makes you wonder how she had enough hours in the day. She was a member of the GMC’s honors program, worked as a tutor and research assistant, and captained and pitched for the softball team. Kait doesn’t bat an eye when you ask her how she did it all.

“I guess I just love learning new things so it’s all work that I really love!”


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