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Elyse Stachler, ND '13: MICROBIOLOGY

AUTHOR: Allison Preston

PUBLISHED: October 6, 2017

Elyse Stachler graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a concentration in environmental engineering. While completing her undergraduate degree she was introduced to microbiology and knew she wanted to continue her studies. 

Q: What led to your interest in studying civil and environmental engineering?

Stachler: I always knew I wanted to do something environmentally related and I was always interested in researching. I care about the earth and want to make it a better place. I took a microbiology course in the department and found it to be really interesting, so when I went to grad school that's what I focused on. 

What were some of your favorite classes?

Stachler: In the CEEES department, I really liked the microbiology classes because I already knew I was interested in the topic. I had actually signed up for the chemistry elective at first. I took one day and realized I did not like chemistry and switched to microbiology. It was one of the best decisions I made because I really ended up liking the topic. 

Outside the CEEES department, I took a really interesting anthropology class, and I took a tap-dancing class! I highly recommend it!

Q: What did you do after graduating in 2013?

Stachler: I went right into graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh and I worked there with Notre Dame alum, Professor Kyle Bibby. I am now getting my Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering but my research is heavily focused on microbiology.

Q: Was there anything from your time at Notre Dame that prepared you for life beyond the university?

Stachler: The overall education is really good. I re-took many of the same classes in grad school that I had already taken at Notre Dame and felt very prepared. They really teach you how to problem solve, which is very necessary for grad school. 

Also, the friendships you make here you keep. The people I'm closest with are from my major at Notre Dame. 

Q: What should students be aware of if they plan to attend grad school right after graduating?

Stachler: Definitely seek out the research that is interesting to you and make connections with faculty members you are interested in working with. You'll be miserable if you're not interested in the topic you're studying. Something that was interesting about me in undergrad was my background in civil engineering, but I was interested in microbiology research. So don't limit yourself if you want to research a topic that is a little different from your major. Just go for it! It also helps to be self-motivated in grad school.

Q: What do you hope to do after completing your Ph.D.?

Stachler: My ultimate goal is to work in a government lab, something like the CDC where I can work on research

Q: Any words of wisdom to current students?

Stachler: Don't shoe yourself in. If you find something that is interesting to research that may not be related to your major, you should still pursue it and find a way to make it related. 


Elyse Stachler is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh. She also received her graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Categories:  AlumnaeAlumniwomen and women in engineering