Coronavirus Facts First

Pittsford PhD student gives account of pandemic in Europe


PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — A Pittsford woman was working to gain her doctoral degree in Europe just as her life flipped upside-down due to coronavirus.

Katie Guzzetta has been pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of College Cork in Ireland since 2018. She traveled to visit her boyfriend when the university shut down due to Covid-19.

“It escalated very, very quickly,” Guzetta said.  “I was finishing my study, where I had to be at the lab every single day for a long amount of time. The study that I worked on ended on Wednesday, and I was fortunate that I did. On Thursday, we had the announcement that the University was closing down.”

As she tried to get back to Ireland, her flights kept getting canceled and rescheduled as the cases of coronavirus escalated in other European countries. 

“Switzerland has a lot more cases than Ireland, and we were thinking maybe I’ll come home to visit my parents and stay in New York. But I don’t want to travel during these times and bring unwanted souvenirs with me.”

Even though Guzzetta is continuing her studies virtually. There’s something more pressing on her mind — her visa expires within the next two months, as well as many classmates and researchers. With everything shutting down, she fears she may get stranded and not able to renew her permits in time.

“I have enough data that I can keep working here. My university originally announced they were going to be closed until March 29. But I think it’s going to be a bit longer. As of right now, I think I am going to stay in Switzerland until I have to decide with my 90-day tourist visa what I am going to do,” Guzzetta said.

With all that being said, she thanks technology because she’s able to at least face time with her family back here in Western New York.

Guzzetta adds her fellow researchers are tapped to be part of a team that is coming up with Covid-19 tests and help flatten the curve.

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