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Class of 2021: Senior looks to career as dermatologist

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | June 9, 2021 6:20 AM

She was one of the top students in her class. Now she has her sights set on another lofty goal: Becoming a dermatologist.

Columbia Falls senior Kate Hatfield graduated Saturday with a 4.1 grade point average, essentially tied with classmate Lara Erickson for the top spot in the Class of 2021.

Hatfield said she took a lot of advanced placement classes and someday hopes to study medicine. But she plans on taking a more economical route to her college degree, starting out at Flathead Valley Community College, where she can gain valuable credits for virtually no cost since she received a host of scholarships.

From there she said she plans on transferring to Montana State University where she said the plan is to get a degree in biochemistry.

Then she said she hopes to get into the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine.

She said she chose dermatology as her field “because I get to help people and I find skin to be very fascinating,” she said.

When she’s not studying Hatfield holds down two jobs — one at the Oddfellows Coffee House and another as a busser at Three Forks Grille.

She was also a defender on the girls soccer team and a member of the girls track team. Hatfield is the daughter of Kristi and Shane Hatfield and the youngest of three sisters, Joyce and Skye, which she said has proven to be a good motivator over the years.

“I think it has been a little bit … proving that I’m not my sisters to the teachers,” she said with a laugh.

Hatfield is also a member of the National Honor Society.

Her advice to folks?

“Stay happy and focus on the good things,” she said. “Know what you love and try to incorporate it into everyday life.”

And her secret to her perfect skin?

“Lots of sunscreen and don’t pick at pimples,” she said.