Mary Kate in Success-Promoting Action

  • Consulting pre-health coach, educator, mentor, career & life coach, author, counselor, and motivational speaker
  • Previous Pre-health and General Academic Advisor at the University of Michigan
  • Previous higher ed instructor & tutor (math, dosage calculations for nurses, and all general ed courses)
  • Previous D1/D2 educational coordinator at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry
  • Previous academic success educator at Dartmouth for graduate students in the Department of Genetics
  • Previous basic and clinical research scientist in academia and the pharmaceutical industry
  • Lifelong auto-didactic learner
  • Attained academic excellence as a student in both undergrad and graduate school

Mary Kate in Fun and Life

  • Married to the man who makes my heart giggle with SQUEE
  • Lives for outdoor time with my honeybun and friends fire-pitting under the stars, playing bocce ball and “tennis-mitten” (think badminton with tennis sounds - it’s hilarious!), bike riding, hiking, rock hunting along the shores of The Great Lakes, planting and growing trees, and hammock time listening to the birds and watching the furry backyard creatures scurry about
  • Surprisingly an introvert, but one with a big, silly, happy, helping heart
  • Books, photography, doodling art, healthy living, laughter, beautiful nature, helping peeps, and chocolate feed my sparkly pinkness!

Mary Kate as a Venn Diagram

Mary Kate Kopec The Best You PAL Academy Premed Pre-dental Pre-health advising coach

How did I get to be all of this?

My long road getting from here to there:

I come from a low SES background.  Complicated family problems made life and school a struggle, but I was determined to NOT get squashed by my circumstances.  I went to night school in my junior/senior year, so I could graduate early.  I moved out on my own at 16 and found out how hard it was to make ends meet.  I worked 3 jobs and lived without heat, a phone, and sometimes electricity.  Food wasn't a given.  I started part-time college.  Botany was my first major.  I briefly considered astronomy.  But then the jobs got harder to manage while trying to study for school, and I realized I needed a better plan.  So I joined the Air Force and served in England during the first Gulf War repairing communication and navigation systems for the F111-A aircraft (the workhorse during that conflict).  After the war, the government grave-yarded my plane, which meant I was out of a job, or I had to retrain.

I eagerly came back stateside to return to college.  I resumed my studies in the community college environment but switched my major to microbiology.  I started tutoring both K-12 kids and fellow students.  Finishing my Associate's, I transferred to a mid-sized liberal arts college (continuing to tutor), where I became a research junkie.  This led me to the Big Ten (still tutoring), where I graduated from Michigan State with a Bachelor's in Zoology-Genetics, I was completely and happily filled with giddy science geekery.  I thought for sure I was a lab rat for life!

The next natural step for me was the Ph.D. graduate program in Human Genetics at the University of Michigan (yep, you guessed it--still tutoring).  But after two years and earning my Master's, it became clear to me that I'd followed my path into the wrong field of science.  I mean, Genetics is cool and all.  It's just ... it wasn't quite what I wanted.

Taking a break from grad school, I landed a research position at a pharmaceutical company, but after about a year, I started thinking that I was really missing tutoring and helping people directly.  So I traded in research and private tutoring for teaching math and tutoring all general ed courses at a local community college - including teaching Dosage Calculations to nursing students.  At the same time, I started Pre-Health advising at the University of Michigan.  After a few years of that, I began to think, Hey, am I really ready to walk away from all my hard work and long years of scientific study to teach math and advise?

So I went back to graduate school to get my Ph.D. - this time, in the correct field for my interests: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.  And for a while I loved it, but then I started getting the itch again.  I couldn't stop myself.  I'd been bitten by the teaching bug, and a new bug came with it: advising, mentoring, and counseling.

It had only taken about fifteen years, but I'd finally figured it out.  I love science.  I love health.  I love teaching, advising, mentoring, and counseling.  And I love helping people!  So, I traded in my Ph.D. for a Master's in Educational Studies: Curriculum Development (including pedagogy and professional development studies).  And here I am today!  Happily doing what I love: helping people through the many modalities of education, usually involving something to do with science and/or health.  Thus, predominantly, Pre-Health advising!!!

I tell you all of this because at some point, it's usually reassuring to hear about my pathway to success and self-discovery.  It didn't come easily.  But it was worth it!!!  For many of us, we start out thinking it's a straight shot to figuring out who we are, when in fact it is usually a fairly curvy road.  And for some reason, finding out that it's not a straight shot can be scary.  But then there's me with my convoluted, up-and-down path, ending in success and happiness.  I find sharing this seems to help my students who are struggling with figuring out who they are, what they want, and how to get it.  My reassurance to you: if you want it, you'll get there!!!

Why Mary Kate? How can she help me?

The Best You PAL Academy MK Qualifications

First and foremost - I am 100% about YOUR success!!!  I'm all about it!!!  I'm here to help YOU achieve the success and happiness you desire!!!  I want to help you be The Best Shining YOU!!!  And I mean all those exclamation points.  :o)

So how can I do this?  It all comes down to caring and wanting to help.  Having depth and breadth of experience.  And having diversity and uniqueness.  I’m not your usual guppy.  I’ve done way more than most, and the wisdom and insight I have gained from my educational and experiential background are here for your benefit.  I possess a level of excellence and a depth and breadth of skills and talents not found in your normal advisor, counselor, or teacher.  On top of that I'm happy, filled with motivation and inspiration, and I absolutely love helping people achieve their goals!!!

If you're curious to know where I get all this depth and breadth, and diversity and uniqueness, read on!

Achieved Academic Excellence

Graduated from Michigan State University with a 4.0 in Zoology-Genetics (3.97 cumulative across 5 undergraduate institutions - I moved a lot in my early years - and 154 total credits [34 more than necessary to graduate]; maintained a 4.0 for 7 semesters straight, never achieved less than a B in any class).  I love education!!!  I'm highly auto-didactic.  And I find purpose and value in every course I've ever taken.

Among my many academic awards and recognition, I was a Barry M. Goldwater nominee in my undergraduate education and a University of Michigan Regent’s Fellow and a recipient of the NIH Training Grant in my graduate education.

I sampled majoring in Botany, Astronomy, and Microbiology before deciding on Genetics.  But my real love (as I discovered in graduate school) is Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.  MCDB makes me giddy and geeky, and protein transport makes me absolutely squishy in the knees!

What does all this mean for you?  It means I understand the rigors of studying science, and I know how to succeed and excel academically.  And I can share that wisdom with you.  I WANT to share that wisdom with you.  I WANT you to succeed and excel, too!!!

Research Scientist

I performed research every semester I was in school, starting in my sophomore year.  I was awarded my first grant in my senior year.  When I graduated from the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan, I landed a research position in a pharmaceutical drug company.

What does this mean for you?  It means I understand the world of research and the life of a researcher.  It also means I understand the process of novel drug research … the story behind discovering new drugs and the FDA research that is necessary to get drugs to humans.  I understand and value the importance of clinical research and how research and practice inform one another.

General and Pre-Health Academic Advisor

At the University of Michigan (the second largest pool of pre-health applicants in the United States).  I have sat in and observed the selection process at the University of Michigan Medical School.

What does this mean for you?  I have substantiated experience with a giant population of students with a wide range of needs, concerns, and interests.  It also means I’ve seen inside the belly of the beast.  I know what admission committees are looking for, and I know how they find it.  I know how they screen applicants.  I understand what you need to be to get in!!!

Educator (Teacher, Tutor, Mentor, Advisor, Life Coach, Career Coach, Counselor, Motivational Speaker)

20+ years of helping students succeed!!!  I love helping students!!!  I'm a student advocate, and I believe fully in your success and happiness!!!

What’s this mean for you?  I’m all about your success!!!  I want to help you be The Best Shining You!!!  And I have the skills and talent to help you achieve happiness and the success you desire!!!

I want to help you be happy.  At my core, I’m fundamentally a big supporter of happiness.  We don’t have enough of it in the world.  I’ve learned success feeds happiness.  So if I help you succeed, I’m helping you be happier and the world be a happier place!  And that’s cool by me!!!


I’m an author with an ever growing list of published titles in Novels, Nonfiction, and SQUEE!

What’s this mean for you?  It means I know how to write creatively, and when you add that to my technical and argumentative writing skills from my years in academia and research - and life in general - it means I can help you write the best personal statement, cover letter, resume, application work/activity experience descriptions, etc., you can by giving you the guidance, instruction, and insight you need to help you write flawlessly.

Last but not least … Independent Business Woman & Philanthropist

Anything not covered above is in this one.

What does this mean for you?  I am entirely self-motivated, driven, directed, dedicated, goal-oriented, hard-working, conscientious, a leader, with work-ethic over the moon!  I have a deep love for the well-being and happiness of humanity; I give of my time and my services to under-served, underrepresented, in-need peoples!

Mary Kate Kopec · Copyright © 2020. All rights Reserved.

Scroll Up