What did you research?
We were trying to pinpoint the origins of nodulation between legumes and rhizobia by studying five candidate genes thought to be linked to their symbiotic relationship. This is important due to the legumes ability to harness atmospheric nitrogen by allowing nitrogen-fixing rhizobia to occupy their root systems. Further understanding of the genetic links between legumes may provide additional insights into this diverse and agriculturally-important plant family.
What did you get out of this experience?
This research experience has allowed me to gain confidence as an independent researcher. I was allowed to troubleshoot my experiments, but I was also able to talk with my mentor whenever I needed guidance. It was a really great blend that allowed me to spread my wings as a critical thinker. Since then, I have taken the lessons I learned from the HHMI program and applied those skills to my current research projects.
What are your interests outside of school?
In my free time I like to go hiking and snowboarding, play lacrosse, and watch movies. I also love to play disc golf and I really enjoy traveling as well.
Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?
Currently, I am a member of the Genetics Club at the University of Minnesota. I am also involved with a club lacrosse team and a recreational ultimate frisbee team.
What are your plans for the future?
Since participating in the HHMI program, I have decided to switch my career goals. I no longer want to pursue veterinary school. Instead, I aspire to teach genetics at the college level. After I graduate this spring, I am moving home to Milwaukee to save up money. Next fall, I plan to move to Seattle where I plan to take a year off of school and explore the western United States and gain more research experience. Hopefully, I will be a grad student in the Genome Sciences program at the University of Washington in Seattle by the fall of 2014!