Class of 2024: Biology major aspires to take readers behind the science

Produced by University Communications

G race Cote of Dahlonega is a biology major with a double minor in environmental science and Spanish language and culture. Her well-rounded experience at Georgia College & State University has laid the groundwork for her to eventually become a scientific editor and grant writer.

Grace Cote
Grace Cote

But first, she’ll begin pursuing her Master of Science in scientific writing at Texas A&M University in the fall. 

“Knowing I’m comfortable with writing and love what I accomplished at Georgia College, I feel confident that I'm going to love pursuing my masters and a career in this field,” Cote said. “I hope this grad school program will help me explore niche topics in the field to guide me toward a specific profession.”

She feels confident in writing scientific terminology she learned at Georgia College. This is due to her classes, tutoring students in the Writing Center and presenting at the Southeastern Writing Centers Association and leading MURACE (mentored undergraduate research and creative endeavors) workshops.

At the MURACE conference, they spoke about demystifying the thesis statement, getting over writer's block and planning a paper.

“I was scared to speak at the conference,” Cote said. “But the way it was set up was a panel with me, two graduate students and Dr. Bracewell—all of whom I feel very comfortable with. So, I had the camaraderie, and I also knew my speaking part, which helped me grow my leadership skills.”

Cote worked many hours at the Writing Center, helping her peers gain skills which made them confident in their writing. Working at the Writing Center not only transformed Cote’s students into better writers, but also grew her writing skills. 

Oftentimes when students come to the Writing Center, they lack confidence in their writing ability.

“They're always bashing themselves, she said. “So, my favorite part is to exude and facilitate confidence in these students. I point out what they’re good at. Then, I lead them through what they need help with to make them feel more confident as writers.”

Grace Cote tutors a student at the Writing Center.
Grace Cote tutors a student at the Writing Center.

Cote enjoys seeing her reoccurring students’ progress, especially when they use the concepts provided by her commentary. Eventually, they get more confident in their writing thanks to Cote who cheers them on.

“I enjoy seeing the personal development with the reoccurring students who come in,” she said. “It's always exciting when that happens.”

“I don't want any student to leave the Writing Center feeling bad about their paper,” Cote said. “I want to lead them through it. I also want them to appreciate writing and learn more about it, while feeling confident in the process because that's what writing is all about.”

She liked the ecological sciences the most. Her course of study included agricultural ecology, ecology and soil ecology.

She enjoyed Dr. Allison Rick VandeVoort’s and Dr. Bruce Snyder’s environmental science and ecology classes and labs.

“They showed me how to create deeper developments in science and to not only think about scientific concepts, but outside of these realms,” Cote said. “They made science fun. This made me more passionate in this field.” 

She’s also a member of Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) Biological Honor Society which improves the understanding and appreciation of biological study through scientific research. 

When Cote took 4000-level Spanish classes, Dr. Aurora Castillo-Scott, associate professor of Spanish, put her mind at ease.

“She’s fantastic,” Cote said. “The high-level class was scary at first, because I was surrounded by students who were Spanish majors, and I was a Spanish minor. I didn’t want to participate in class. But Dr. Castillo-Scott was so great at making the environment super safe which made me feel confident in my feedback and studies.”

Knowing I’m comfortable with writing and love what I accomplished at Georgia College, I feel confident that I'm going to love pursuing my masters and a career in this field.
– Grace Cote

She’ll take what she learned and apply it in her career and in life.

“Dr. Castillo-Scott taught me tenacity, confidence and communication—the things that are often overlooked in colleges,” Cote said. “I also learned the thought processes behind higher-level thinking.”

Throughout her four years as a tutor in the Writing Center, Cote got to review a variety of student papers. She especially liked reading the scientific ones.

“When I first came to Georgia College as a biology major, I was so scared because I didn’t understand how tethered biology and writing are,” Cote said. “Now I understand why my lab reports and research papers are so important. Combining writing with the sciences is such a neat thing.”