Student Star: Katharine Thomas

Name: Katharine Thomas 
Major: Environmental Science and Policy
Graduation: Fall 2024
Hometown: Sarasota, Fla.
College: College of Arts & Sciences

“I chose FSU for its abundant involvement opportunities and a strong emphasis on a liberal arts education, which promised a diverse and enriching academic experience.”

Fast Facts

  1. Water fun: Learned how to sail at the Rez with the FSU Sailing Club 
  2. In the forecast: Has been a weathercaster with FSU Weather 
  3. Favorite Tallahassee spot: Loves to hike at the Lafayette Heritage Trail Park 
  4. Dancer: Was in a pre-professional ballet program in high school and continues to take classes every weekend 
  5. Favorite music artists: Billy Joel and Taylor Swift 

Katharine Thomas chose to attend Florida State University for its wealth of involvement opportunities and dedication to a liberal arts education.

Through programs like the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and leadership roles in organizations like Global Dental Brigades, Thomas has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence, community service and social impact throughout her time at FSU.

How did FSU stick out to you when you were applying to colleges and post-secondary institutions?

I chose FSU for its abundant involvement opportunities and a strong emphasis on a liberal arts education, which promised a diverse and enriching academic experience. The university’s commitment to research, coupled with its broad general education curriculum, assured me that I could pursue my interests while graduating as a well-rounded individual, constantly pushing my boundaries and exploring new opportunities.

What was your favorite academic opportunity?

Through the UROP program, I delved into environmental science research under Stephanie Pau’s guidance, investigating climate change’s impact on Hawaiian plant species. Immersed in the Pau lab, I collaborated with graduate students and presented our findings at the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference. Transitioning to Angela Knapp’s lab, I now analyze water samples for phosphorus concentrations.  

Consistently making the FSU President’s list underscores my commitment to academic excellence, supported by dedicated professors who have enriched my learning experience and expanded my worldview.  

How do your professional goals align with community services initiatives?

As a freshman, I became the founding treasurer of Dental Brigades, a student organization focused on community service. I played a pivotal role in organizing fundraising events and coordinating a dental service trip to Panama, where other members and I provided dental care to rural communities. Now serving as the vice president, I continue to lead efforts to engage members in local dental experiences and coordinate volunteer opportunities in Tallahassee, emphasizing oral health education as a means of community service and building a foundation of robust oral health. 

How do you help cultivate a culture of service and collaboration at FSU through leadership?

Throughout my time at FSU, I’ve leveraged my academic drive and collaborative spirit to inspire others. As a learning assistant in Biology II, I mentored students and created a nurturing environment for academic exploration. In addition, as a future pre-health Freshman Interest Group leader and through my involvement with Dental Brigades, I continue to mentor and encourage students, expanding dental education and promoting service within the community.