Amanda Mary “Mandy” Lakatos, of Chesterton, has been fascinated with animals since she was a little girl. In high school she took just about every biology course she could take. Once she graduated, a biology major in college was a given.
Lakatos earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and intends to work with animal science in the future.
“I work at a local veterinarian’s office that does a lot of wildlife rehabilitation. That is my passion,” she explained. “I want to work with animals someway, whether it is at a zoo or the animal clinic, or in conservation or environmental science.”
On campus she immersed herself in activities that helped her learn more about biology, conservation, animals and the outdoors.
She assisted Dr. Robin Scribailo, professor of Biology; and Dr. Mitch Alix, assistant professor of Biology, for two summers on their research with aquatic plants learning about plants and gaining skills that can be applied in a variety of laboratory settings – such as water quality testing and processing specimens.
Among her favorite experiences at PNC were being part of the “Birds of Northwest Indiana” class taught by Dr. Chris Holford, associate professor of Biology, and department chair.
According to Lakatos, “That entire summer class was so fascinating. We went to several different locations, including the PNC campus. I never knew PNC has such an abundance of birds.”
Second to that would be the Astronomy class observation night on campus that gave students a view of the constellations and star systems.
She also was president of the Xi Rho Chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the PNC division of the National Biological Society. She is also active in her church.
In the meantime, she maintained a high grade point average. “I’ve maintained it by studying HARD. I’ve really worked to keep my GPA high,” she noted.
Lakatos has spoken highly of PNC to others who are searching for the right college or university to earn a degree.
“It is part of the Purdue system so you have a quality education. The small class sizes allowed me to really get to know my professors on a personal level. I was comfortable with them and was not afraid to ask for help. If you are looking for a good education, personal relationships with professors, and something close to home, PNC is definitely it,” she says.
She also advises students to “Use the campus to its fullest extent. It has so much to offer – a fitness center, excellent computer labs, a huge library, hiking trails, and much more.”
But Lakatos is quick to credit her friends and family for their support while she tended to her studies.
“It was very difficult at times but through the help of my friends and family I made it,” she said. “My family has been essential. My parents, Marty and Cathie, never stopped encouraging me. My brother, who has a degree in biology, helped me understand different concepts, and my sister Carrie helped me innumerable times. My grandparents, Steve and Esther Kristoff, had continuous love and faith in me.
“The Keithley family helped me by working around my schedule and being understanding when I needed extra time to study. My friends Jenny, Erin, Carrie, and Lindsay helped me study and enjoy college life, keeping me sane in the process. My boyfriend Mike has been wonderful helping me study for tests and sitting through hours of practice presentations.”
After graduation, Lakatos plans to stay in the area so she can make a positive impact on community alike.
“PNC has provided me with a solid foundation and numerous connections to help make that goal a reality.”
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