Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Student Testimonials

​Julia Shuff  
(​​2018 Graduate, ORISE fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

In 2011, I graduated from Indiana University. I was finally out of academia! The world was my oyster! Except for one small problem. No one wanted to hire a social sciences major during the recession. 

After a few years of working va​rious odd jobs (mostly in social work and in health care) I started toying with the idea of going back to school. Maybe for nursing? No, the hours are terrible. What about veterinary medicine? That’s a lot of school… I started taking some courses at my local community college to explore my options, and that’s when I realized: I want to be a microbiologist when I grow up! It only took me 27 years to decide on that. 

The “Professional Track Master of Science in Microbiology” was a perfect fit for me. It consisted of one year of intensive coursework, with classes scheduled for the mornings so I had the afternoons to work in a lab. The professors were all incredibly helpful and informative, often willing to give as much help as you needed as long as you asked. The professors and coordinator would keep us in the loop for important networking opportunities and relevant job postings. It was a very busy year, but it all paid off in the end! 

Now I am an ORISE fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ORISE is a truly amazing program that employs recent graduates in some really wonderful positions. Through this program, I am able to accomplish incredibly fulfilling work with the CDC. And all of this is possible because of the MSB program! ​ 

​Michelle Kahle  
(​​2018 Graduate, PA program, Rocky Vista University)

Applying for the MIP MS-B program was one of the best decisions I have made. I headed into this program with the focus of becoming a stronger applicant for physician assistant school, but also came out of it as a better scientist. Though the program is only two short semesters, there is a much greater depth of learning in each topic discussed, as compared to my previous experience as an undergraduate microbiology student. Classes are built around developing strategies to better understand scientific research and help teach you how to hold stronger scientific conversations with colleagues. 

No matter what your interests are, whether it be going on to professional school or heading into industry, this program caters to all. Speakers from all over the front range are brought in to help spark your interest and presents you with the opportunity to hone in on your networking skills. Additionally, the small class size allows you to build stronger relationships with your professors, which makes classroom discussions much more engaging. Each and every faculty member takes an interest in their students to help promote advanced academic growth. The MS-B program has given me a solid foundation of scientific knowledge to springboard off of, which I know I will continue to reference for years to come. ​ 

​Jess Brown  
(​​2017 Graduate, Researching Tuberculosis at the Harvard School of Public Health)

After earning my BS in Microbiology, I went to work in pharmaceutical quality control. A few years later I was ready for a change and a graduate degree. I knew I didn’t want to work in quality control forever, and a graduate degree would make me a more competitive candidate for research jobs. A friend from the 2014 graduating class spoke very highly of the MS-B program so applying was a no-brainer!

Was it hard to quit my full-time job and move across the country? Yes. Was it hard to finish a masters degree in two semesters? Yes, but it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. The course work was relevant, engaging, and pushed me to think beyond the cookie cutter QC work I had grown accustomed to. Even now, I reference slides from some of the classes for quick information on setting up an immunoprecipitation experiment or BSL-3 regulations.  Each and every professor was always more than willing to meet with students, discuss ideas, and help us if we ever had any questions. Our program advisor, Jeff Wilusz, was hands on and willing to work with us to help achieve our goals. Before the year even began he helped place me in a research lab that in turn helped me find the amazing job I have today.

If someone told me five years ago that I would be researching Tuberculosis at the Harvard School of Public Health I wouldn’t have believed them, but because of the knowledge and experience gained through the MS-B program that’s exactly where I am. In one whirlwind year I moved to a new beautiful state, made friends I will have for a life time, earned my masters degree, found my dream job, and I’m proud to have done it all through CSU.​ 

​Kelsea Ericksen​​  
(2017 Graduate, CSU Vet Student)

I chose the 1-year MIP Master’s program over all others because I love microbiology and I found the faculty to be willing and eager to help me grow. Jeff Wilusz, the program coordinator, made himself available as a mentor, giving advice that was individualized to the students’ goals. I am happy to say that I was accepted into the Veterinary Medicine program here at CSU and am currently in my second semester. I like to think that this master’s program not only provided me with the tools to succeed but also with a strong background in microbiology allowing me to achieve my goal of getting into veterinary school. 

​​Lisbel Torres  
(​​2017 Graduate, Professional Research Assistant, University of Colorado School of Medicine)

In September 2017 I was hired as a professional research assistant for the University of Colorado School of Medicine. I am currently working in the OB/GYN division under the department of family planning. My primary job involves working directly with pharmaceuticals/sponsors in the execution and implementation of clinical trials. It is a very fast paced position which has allowed me the opportunity to learn more about the full process of bringing a drug to market. Having not received the M.S in Microbiology, I would not have had the ground work of understanding on IRB submissions, FDA regulations or clinical trials in general. The one year masters program really prepared me for my current position and I am looking forward to developing as a researcher and taking advantage of even more skills and knowledge that the program offered me in the months and years to come.​

​​​​​​​​​Joylynn Gallegos
(2016 Graduate, Medical School Student)
Completing the MS-B Microbiology program was one of the best decisions I have ever made at CSU. My ultimate goal is to attend medical school next fall and this program did everything to set me on track to be a competitive applicant. The structure of the program was one that suited my learning style, which made attending class that much more exciting. The program as a whole is great, but the professors are what truly make it what it is.  Each professor has their own expertise, which helps to acquire a well-rounded view on topics. They are extremely helpful and very eager to help out.
The director of the program, Dr. Jeffrey Wilusz, is more than just an advisor, but a friend. His knowledge of medical school applications was extremely helpful as was his mentorship. He guided me through the necessary classes I needed to apply to medical school as well as advised me through the application process and how to stand-out as an applicant. One of my favorite aspects of the program was how close I was with my fellow students. The atmosphere is definitely an all-for-one type of feel which helped me learn even more. 
By no means is this an easy program. Each semester, the course work was relevant to the ongoing and current research from the Zika virus outbreak to diverse tuberculosis clinical trials.  In the mean time, while I wait to apply to medical school, I was able to find a job at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus where I work on diabetes research.  I am very grateful for this program and look forward to the future!

Rosie Horst 
(2016 Graduate, Lab Scientist, Denver Health Microbiology Lab) 

As a person with a BS degree in Biochemistry, I had a hard time finding a job in the field I majored in. Over the years I have held jobs in many other fields, but wanted to find something that involved laboratory work and patient care or food safety. This program provided me with a solid microbiology and immunology foundation that helped me achieve my goal.

Instead of just memorizing all the information given to us by professors, we held in-depth class discussions, and went over case studies in groups, giving us a chance to apply our new knowledge to real-world situations. Throughout both semesters, guest speakers from various fields were brought in, and encouraged us to contact them with questions. This was a great networking opportunity that helped us discover what types of jobs were available. In addition, current topics in science were discussed every week, keeping us updated on interesting news and breakthroughs. Professors were involved in each student’s education, providing one-on-one time when asked, helping us figure out questions, or just going over exams and quizzes. The program leader, Jeff, is extremely dedicated to each student and their success.

All in all, I believe this program provides a good stepping stone for those either pursuing further degrees or certificates, or those that simply need a one-up in the job search.

Meghin Kiernan 
(2016 Graduate,CSU Vet School Student)

I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a young girl. My experience at Colorado State University allowed me to achieve my life-long dream, as I will be attending Colorado State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the fall of 2016. I started CSU in 2011, as an undergraduate studying equine science. As I sat through immunology lectures in pre-vet club, learned of dangerous pathogens in microbiology, and encountered infectious diseases in my veterinary internships, I realized I had a passion for microbiology and disease control.
When the opportunity presented itself, I immediately jumped at the chance to be a part of the Microbiology-immunology M.S. (professional) program. I was drawn to the program because it presented the opportunity to increase my knowledge of current research methods in microbiology, biotechnology, infectious disease, bacteriology, virology, biosafety, ethics, and current issues. Furthermore, I was able to complete the program in only two semesters, which allowed me to apply to veterinary schools for the following year. The instructors in the program were passionate for their innovative research, and they were dedicated to providing students with the necessary skills and knowledge to help them succeed in the industry and beyond. Moreover, I loved interacting with a diverse group of students, all from different backgrounds and with varying future goals. Students were always eager to learn, collaborate, and discuss curriculum in a small yet inviting atmosphere.  I am now comfortable discusses scientific research and academia with other scientists. Furthermore, students strove to accomplish their goals, which ultimately included: professional school aspirations, research doctorate opportunities, and jobs in the industry. In the curriculum, I specifically enjoyed medical microbiology, where I learned to diagnose, detect, and treat various disease causing pathogens. Furthermore, I enjoyed writing the required scholarly paper on a topic I was interested and passionate about (the equine microbiome).
Although I will not be taking a job in the industry, I believe this program will allow me to be successful in veterinary school and my career, as I continue to study and eventually treat infectious diseases. Now, I am equipped with a strong background in microbiology, which will provide me with a unique perspective as I encounter challenging curriculum, problems, and patients. I am now able to combine both my passions for veterinary medicine and microbiology, and I ultimately hope to specialize in internal medicine where I could prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases and disorders. I look forward to continuing my education as a Ram and seeing where my journey leads!​​

(2015 Graduate, CSU PhD Candidate) 

The Microbiology MS-B program at CSU affirmed my desire and potential to continue studying microbiology at a higher level. I am currently in the Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology PhD program here at CSU and I owe a great deal of my recent accomplishments to the MS-B program. Through two quick semesters, I was able to refine my critical thinking, data analysis, experimental design, and presentation skills – all of which made me much better prepared for the PhD program. Additionally, this program helped me define my research interests by being exposed to the variety of innovative research happening here at CSU.

Before joining this program, I had been out of a formal classroom for over four years and was generally apprehensive about pursuing a higher degree in a field that I was (and still am) very interested in. The coursework in the MS-B program is accelerated but manageable, and I found the information to be not only a refresher but a solid foundation for the PhD program. Most importantly for me, I was able to enhance my presentation skills and scientific writing abilities, which have been instrumental to my success in the PhD program.

In addition to the valuable classroom lessons on cutting-edge topics in the fields of microbiology and immunology, I was able to meet a majority of the faculty in the MIP department and extensively network outside my niche in bacteriology. All of the professors were very approachable and I feel like I made some friendships that will last throughout my time in graduate school and beyond. The MS-B program is not only valuable for advancing your scientific knowledge but also for professional networking and discovering the diverse career opportunities available to microbiology grads​.​​​

​Joey Guy
(2014 Graduate, Vivarium Manager, Plato BioPharma)  

The Microbiology-Immunology M.S. (professional) program was a great fit for me. The accelerated pace of the program was a big draw for me, as someone with several years of work experience in animal research who desired a world-class education in a condensed timeframe. I was drawn to this program because of its diverse approach to microbiology and immunology education, and its emphasis on current and applied aspects of these fields.

One of the most challenging and rewarding courses I have ever completed was an advanced microbiological research methods class taken through this program. It provided me with a strong foundation in the full range of experimental approaches used in microbiological research, including PCR and cloning, next generation sequencing, quantitative analysis of gene expression, protein expression and analysis, and culture and analysis of eukaryotic cells. I also benefited tremendously from engaging, in-depth, and thought-provoking courses in virology, immunology and molecular biology. Courses in research policies/regulations and biosafety were invaluable, and I find the information covered in those classes to be quite relevant to my current work.

The instructors involved in this program had high expectations for all of us students, and were committed to our success. They created a supportive environment both inside and outside of the classroom, and I always felt comfortable reaching out to them whenever I needed extra help with course material. This program allowed me to propel my career to another level by providing an environment in which I could acquire the knowledge and skills desired by employers in the biotechnology sector.

Katie Menning
(2014 Graduate, Production Associate I, BioMARC)  

My time in the professional master’s program at Colorado State University gave me an excellent opportunity to pursue an advanced degree at a highly-ranked institute in my field of study (which also happens to have the Rocky Mountains as your backyard playground). I liked the program because not only did I learn the science behind what I was studying, I also learned how to apply it for real world use, something I do frequently in my lab.

Because CSU is such a strong research community, I had countless opportunities to develop and focus on my area of interest. It was great being around fellow science enthusiasts who were passionate and engaged about what we were studying. The program created a collaborative atmosphere, where my classmates and I learned from and with each other, which I believe fostered deeper learning beyond what one would gain individually.

The classes are taught by professors doing innovative research in their fields and are eager to discuss their research or show you a procedure in the lab. They make themselves readily available for learning outside of class and truly want you to succeed.  
Jeff (the program coordinator) does a great job of bringing in leaders from many areas of research, whether it is academia or industry, to shed light on what they are doing and offer great networking opportunities. In fact, I met my future employer (Dennis Pierro, BioMARC) at one of these seminars. This is supplemented with seminars focused on professional development, current topics, and areas of students’ interest. 
This program is a great stepping stone if you are considering a PhD program or other doctoral degree also to get a head start in a career in the field of microbiology or immunology. Overall, I’m very glad I chose to do my master’s at Colorado State, and I would recommend the same choice to others considering a professional graduate program.

Paul Simmons
(2014 Graduate, Research Associate, Proteomics and Metabolomics Facility, CSU)  

Before I began the Professional Master’s program, I knew that it was designed to be intensive and modern in regards to the curriculum being presented. Being true to its purpose, the coursework did indeed fulfill my pre-conceived expectations and necessitated a robust work ethic in order to conceptually understand and apply all the innovative technologies and concepts covered in the program.

In addition, this program has as strong focus on developing a young scientist’s ability to weave that understanding into professional skill sets such as critical analysis of scientific publications and data, public speaking and scientific writing. For me, this focus was the best part of the program as it demanded that I do more than the often prescribed, memorize – regurgitate – memorize – regurgitate mantra. The program forced me to think actively and incorporate scientific methodology, written/verbal communication and present my ideas/findings in a coherent and professionally acceptable way.

This training in conjunction with the combined expertise and support of MS-B Faculty members, lively classroom discussions and constant exposure to scientific professionals from all walks of Academia and Industry, coalesced into what was easily the most rewarding academic experience I’ve participated in. Considering that I was a member of the inaugural MS-B class, I can only expect that this program will continue to evolve and get even better with time.

Carl Dernell
(2014 Graduate, CU Medical School Student)

My dream career has been the practice of medicine since I could play with a toy stethoscope as a kid. That being said, it's not exactly a walk in the park to get into medical school. So when I was applying to schools for the second consecutive year I was eagerly looking for ways to improve myself as a scientist and student, create an edge for myself in the competitive atmosphere of applying to medical school, and give myself a viable base for a science career outside of medicine, all at the same time. I was mostly convinced I was asking for something that didn’t exist. At least until about two weeks into the first semester of the MS-B program.

I had found myself in a unique situation: a small classroom with brilliant classmates all committed to learning, interacting closely with faculty all genuinely interested in developing not only their respective courses, but us as the students. I haven't heard of any other graduate program that has this level of access to quality teaching faculty.

Looking back at it a year later, I am very thankful for the opportunity to go through this program. Because of my work there I am far more comfortable speaking intelligently about the cutting edge techniques being used in research laboratories both academic and commercial. I feel empowered to take on an interview for a technician job in any lab in the country while at the same time feeling well prepared for any other science career or professional school. And, finally, the added boost of credentials helped me achieve my dream of getting into Medical school. I would recommend the program to any student as long as they were committed to two things: taking advantage of the unique access to great faculty the program offers as well as the opportunity to network with the brilliant classmates they are surrounded by.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​make a gift
Contact Us:
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​1682 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1682

(970) 491-6144

(970) 491-0603