Discovering herself, and a love of microbiology

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Image of young woman in a lab coat in a lab with electronic equipment

Kendall Plant grew up in Cranbrook near College of the Rockies’ main campus and loved the idea of being able to study close to home. Always fascinated with science, it was performing fetal pig dissections in high school that convinced her biology was the focus for her. The University Science program offered at the College was the perfect fit.

“The tight-knit community at the College made me feel comfortable as I began my post-secondary education,” she said. “I took all the first-year science courses but it was the genetics course that helped me realize that microbial life excited me most.”

After two years of science courses at College of the Rockies, Kendall transferred to the University of Victoria to complete her bachelor’s degree in microbiology. She completed a co-op with the BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences, a non-profit research and diagnostic facility on Vancouver Island, as a diagnostic virology technician. After completing her degree, she was offered the opportunity to return to their lab in Campbell River, B.C.

As lead qPCR technician, Kendall was part of a team of individuals who strive to better aquatic life and ecosystems, in conjunction with academic institutions and government bodies.

In fall 2021, Kendall was awarded a new position with BC Children’s Hospital. Fifty per cent of her duties are with the Hospital’s Biobank as a technician responsible for collecting samples from consenting patients and processing them for storage for future research projects. The other half of her time is spent with the Hospital Research Institute/UBC as part of the Clinical Research Development Laboratory (CRDL), a lab space that allows clinical teams from the hospital to partner with the lab to do the bench work component of their research. This position will allow Kendall the opportunity to interact with multiple projects taking place at BC Children’s Hospital.

Kendall feels her start at College of the Rockies played a big part in helping her to get to where she is today.

“Attending the College for the first couple years of my education made me a more confident learner,” she said. “The smaller class sizes and more intimate setting allowed me to discover more about myself and my style of learning before attending a much larger institution. The College’s main campus is beautiful and is filled with staff who genuinely care about your success.”

Learn more about College of the Rockies’ University Arts and Sciences program.