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Interview with AAS and BS Alumna, Tani Hatch

June 7th, 2021
Questions answered by Tani Hatch, Weber State Botany Graduate

"Weber State is a playground for your dreams" - Tani Hatch


Describe your studies/participation at Weber State University.

While at WSU, I pursued a degree in Field Botany with minors in both Zoology and Chemistry. I worked as a lab, greenhouse, and research assistant, helping with botany lab prep, greenhouse care, and maintenance. I assisted Dr. Heather Root with a comparative lichen and air quality research project, which I continued after graduation with a fellow friend and colleague, Kenna Hill. After earning my undergraduate, I returned for one more semester to earn my Chemical Technician AAS degree.

How was Weber State University a part of the process of "climbing Ever Upward" toward your goals?

I was a transfer, a non-traditional student wanting to pursue a botany degree, and after researching, I found WSU to be my best option. It was a seamless transition from one spiraling staircase to another. I could have stayed where I was, but it wouldn't have gotten me where I wanted to go. With each passing class and relationship fostered, I collected tools and knowledge that prepared me for my rapidly approaching future. And yet again, it was a near-seamless transition from stepping from my goals to my future and actively using all that I had gained during my time at WSU. I feel confident about how to access the future I want, all thanks to WSU. And the beautiful part of that is being able to give back and help others on their journey; it comes full circle.

Were there any specific Weber State professors who were instrumental in helping you with your university journey?

I was incredibly fortunate to have the lineup of professors I did with the botany department; Dr. Harley, Dr. Wachocki, and Dr. Root. It was inspiring to have these women as mentors and role models, as they each have such unique characteristics, strengths, and approaches to their field and life. Dr. Harley provided the space I needed to push myself and realize I could tackle complex ideas and tasks. Dr. Wachocki supported my exploration at WSU, was always so kind, and helped me imagine what I could accomplish. Dr. Root sparked unlit and unexplored parts of my mind and encouraged me to pour out all of my preconceived notions and carefully inspect each one now, with a new mind.


Did you have any experiences at Weber State that made an impact on your future or the direction you took after graduating?

The time that I spent working with Sonya Welsh, who managed the botany lab and greenhouse, made the most significant impact on my time at WSU and the immediate future I took post-graduation. Aptly nicknamed "The Botany Mom," she is still to this day one of the kindest, funny, resilient, and intelligent, strong women I have ever met. Yet another role model and mentor that I was so fortunate to have. She helped guide me into two different roles after graduation, coaching volleyball for three years, a lifelong goal, and the opportunity to manage the botany lab and greenhouse at Davis campus for WSU, where I ended up working for two incredible years. Every endeavor I've pursued, I have had unrelenting support from everyone at WSU, from professors to life-long friends.

What message would you like to share with students who are graduating or who are considering this educational path?

Get to know folks around you, even if it's just a couple of people. The relationships that you develop will enrich both your personal and professional life in the years to come.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Don't be afraid to take mental health days and be as kind as you can to yourself during your studies. I know it can be difficult when there is always so much to do, but your wellbeing is just as crucial as that beautiful mind that you're feeding with your education. You're making your education a priority, don't forget that you, yourself, are part of that as well.

If anyone wants to reach out about their education at WSU or about science or botany in particular, please feel free to contact me at