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National magazine features WSU student with global goals

Part farmer, part physician, entirely focused on keeping humanity healthy.

Katie Doonan leans on a farming combine in a field.
Katie Doonan

That’s the career goal of WSU junior Katie Doonan, who is majoring in organic agriculture systems, while also taking the full WSU pre-med prerequisite coursework. Oh, and minoring in soil science.

Doonan was recently featured in “Planting Seeds,” an article in USA Today’s annual Special Edition: U.S. Department of Agriculture. The article highlights sustainable agriculture programs at universities around the country—including WSU’s Eggert Family Organic Farm and regents professor John Reganold, director of the organic ag systems program. (Move the slider on this page to page 86/87.)

In it, Doonan talks about her goal of being a doctor who “views health and disease through the same lens.”

“I want to look at the whole system to improve the health of society overall,” Doonan told CAHNRS after the story came out. “Food is a huge part of health, so I want to get a good agriculture education before going on to medical school.”

Doonan’s family has an organic alfalfa farm near her hometown of Bishop, California. She said her family traces its lineage back to some of the earliest English settlers in the U.S., and they were farmers. She can trace back 13 generations of her family, with every generation having at least one farming family.

She plans to spend the Fall 2018 semester studying abroad in Ireland, to learn about agriculture first-hand in another country.

“I have a lot of Irish heritage, ancestors who came over during the potato famines,” Doonan said. “So that’s how I picked the destination. But I really want to gain global agriculture experience that I can bring back to American production.”

That desire to expand perspectives will only help as she takes on the goal of improving health for society.