Dr. Natalie Mikita is a biochemist from a small town outside of Cleveland who holds the title of interim chairperson for Chemistry and is the Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) on campus. Being FAR means that Dr. Mikita helps student-athletes with their academic struggles and also personal struggles they are facing. Mikita teaches multiple courses including Chem 370 and Chem 111.
Dr. Mikita loves learning from her students. She keeps students engaged by cracking jokes and having fun with them while also maintaining lectures and labs.
“I could be in the worst mood, but as soon as I step in front of those kids a switch turns and I’m in the zone.” said Dr. Mikita.
Emily Holt, a freshman biology major, took Chem 111 with Dr. Mikita this past fall semester.
“She helped me acquire more appreciation for chemistry as a whole,” said Holt. “I used to strongly dislike chemistry and any idea of learning it but she helped me realize that it wasn’t actually that bad.”
“I’m the same person no matter where I am.” said Dr. Mikita, “I don’t have that teacher persona when I go in front of the students. It’s all me.”
After getting her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Mikita realized “I didn’t want to diagnose colds and I didn’t want to be in school forever. I was so much more interested in what happens behind the scenes like in the body when you have the diseases, rather than saying ‘here’s the drugs that we’re going to use to treat it’.”
She was inspired by a role model of hers, one of her professors, who asked her what she liked about these subjects. She responded by saying she really likes learning about them which led her to the conclusion that teaching is what she wanted to do.
Outside of teaching, Dr. Mikita has a love for CrossFit. Every morning she wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to go to the gym. “I love the way I feel afterward.” said Dr. Mikita, “I get those endorphins, it helps me with mental health.”
Outside of the workout, she enjoys the connections she has with her classmates that make the whole experience even more enjoyable. Some may note about the early morning hour she wakes up to go to class and for that Dr. Mikita says, “It’s not about having discipline. It’s about finding something that you really enjoy so much that you are willing to do what you need to do.”
Whether it’s helping student-athletes, teaching Chemistry or participating in Crossfit, Dr. Mikita is fully dedicated to whatever she pursues in both her profession and personal life.
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