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Fall 2003 - Kate Barzan

Destination Purdue > Fall 2003 - Kate Barzan

Outstanding agriculture student spotlight: Kate Barzan

By Kori Kamradt

Kate Barzan mixing fish food

Photo provided by Kate Barzan

Kate Barzan mixes vitamins and thawed fish together to make a delicious feast for "Baby Huey," the Chicago Shedd Aquarium's Napoleon Wrasse, a tropical fish that normally lives in the Indo-Pacific region of the world.

Not many people have a love of sharks. And many would not willingly volunteer to work with them or be so excited about getting their hands on one of these predators of the deep oceans. Well, Kate Barzan is not like most people.

Barzan, a Purdue University junior in biochemistry from Schererville, Ind., has taken her love of marine science to the next level by interning at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. "It's very exciting to be able to say that I've held a live shark in my hands," Barzan said of her experience at the aquarium.

She hopes to spend her next internship with a professor in Florida who studies sharks, works with the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" and also maintains the national shark bite file, which keeps records of shark attacks that take place within the United States.

Barzan has been just as active during her semesters here at Purdue as she has been during her summer breaks. She has participated in the Biology, Pre-vet and Shreve Hall Clubs and also has worked for Boiler Gold Rush, which is an orientation program for incoming freshmen. Along with all of these extra-curricular activities, Barzan also worked as a teacher's assistant last fall for BIOL 122: "Laboratory in Biology I: Diversity, Ecology and Behavior." "It's important to have fun and get involved early," Barzan said. "Not only is it a great resumé builder, but you learn a lot from it."

Barzan also has been very happy with her academic life at Purdue. She thinks that the College of Agriculture has a very intimate feel. This intimacy gives all of the students a chance to really get to know their professors and advisors a little better than most students do, she said.

Barzan thinks that Purdue as a whole offers many ways for students to mold not only their present social and academic lives but also their futures. "Purdue gives us everything," Barzan said. "We just have to learn how to use it correctly."