Katie Tuininga

Where did you transfer from?

North Hennepin Community College

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

The University of Minnesota has a strong program for my major. Also, both of my parents and grandparents attended this school.

What are you researching?

I am researching plant reproductive biology as it is related to evolution. More specifically, I am investigating whether differential pollen tube growth (a type of reproductive isolating mechanism) is present in the wildflower C. xantiana, which would indicate that the two subspecies are currently in the process of speciation. The results of this research may help scientists elucidate the primary mechanisms responsible for the divergence of plant species and maintenance of that separation. I chose this project because of my interest in plant biology and my desire to strengthen my microscopy skills.

What have you gotten out of this experience?

I have learned so much about plant reproduction and how reproductive isolating mechanisms contribute to speciation. I have also learned to be more independent. My experience so far has confirmed in my mind that I would like to continue pursuing research as a career.

What are your interests outside of school?

I love to read anything and everything, especially science and history books, Russian classics, and contemporary novels. I am passionate about music, either listening to it or playing it on my violin and piano. I also love to spend time with my family, playing games, and watching movies.

Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?

I play intramural volleyball and I volunteer at the local library and a children's camp in northern Minnesota.

What are you plans for the future?

I would like to study infectious or genetic diseases at the biochemical or organismal level. After graduation, I would like to attain a position at a research lab at a hospital, drug company, or research institute.

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