Heather Soika

Where did you transfer from?

Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia

Why did you want to come to the University of Minnesota?

I was planning my wedding at about the same time as my (then) fiancé and I were preparing for his separation from the military. We were looking to be nearby family for the next few years, while we got through school. The University of Minnesota provided the best blend family proximity (his family is local to the Cities) and a quality school.

What are you researching?

We are working to regulate the flowering time in pennycress to make it a better biofuel cover crop. The research will hopefully help address concerns about petroleum reserves, the use of food crops for the production of fuel, and the minimization of pesticides in agriculture. I chose this project because the research is mostly on the genomic level, which is an area that really interests me.

What have you gotten out of this experience?

It has been an excellent environment to see how experiments are developed and conducted. I have learned a lot about basic laboratory etiquette and research techniques.

What are your interests outside of school?

I run a lot, and I like to cook.

What are you plans for the future?

I might pursue a Master's down the road, but I'd to get out in the workforce and see what I can with my Bachelor's first. I’d like to get involved with the patent process, whether doing research in labs or possible as a consultant to a law firm.

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