A student worker reflects on his time at the Conservatory

January 09, 2020

Adam Kostanecki’s fascination with the Conservatory collection sparked an interest in research. 

My experience at the CBS Conservatory has been nothing short of extraordinary. In my first semester of college, I was drawn to this impressive collection of plants and the wonderful staff that oversees it. Over the last three and a half years I have had the pleasure of gaining experience with the care and cultivation of plants from all over the world. I have worked hands-on with some of the world's most interesting, ancient and unique species. 

My fascination and familiarity with the collection pushed me to join a research project focused on one of our specimens, Nesocodon mauritianus. For 18 months, I studied the fascinating red-colored nectar of this plant and the complex enzymatic system it uses to produce it. My passion for botany and the knowledge that I was gaining in my undergraduate courses were truly brought to life by this living collection. 

Now that I am graduating, I will be taking my next step forward working as a researcher in the Tiffin Lab where I will participate in a large-scale study of Medicago growth traits associated with rhizobial relationships. I am excited to pursue my interest in research while remaining part of the wonderful CBS community! This will also offer me a chance to expand my skill set as I learn to work with genomics. 

My long-term career goal of working to connect people and plants has been strongly influenced by my experience at the CBS Conservatory. Their mission of bringing the plants of the world to the people of Minnesota goes beyond the ornamental and aesthetic by focusing on conservation, education and research. I took this mission to heart, and now use it as a reference when considering opportunities for my future. Although leaving the Conservatory is bittersweet, I am joyful knowing that my shoes will be filled by the next undergraduate student ready for their own life-changing experience. - Adam Kostanecki (Class of 2019)