Scott Weybright, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – Keeping humanity healthy is the career goal of 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 one of several U.S. students majoring in organic agriculture who were featured in an article in USA Today’s annual special edition on the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The article, titled “Planting Seeds: Sustainable agriculture programs produce global problem solvers,” 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.

Doonan’s goal is to become a doctor who “views health and disease through the same lens.”

Cover of USA Today special edition on U.S. Department of Agriculture“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.