Wesley Hills, N.Y.
Why did you choose Cornell?
Cornell has more depth in the Plant Sciences than the other schools I considered. I started out interested mostly in genetics. But you have lots of freedom in the major to explore whatever excites you.
I’ve also found that it’s easy to get to know your classmates in the major. It’s not a huge major, so you don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Have you taken any inspiring courses?
I took Soil Science (CSS 2600) my first semester and liked it so much that I took Soil Ecology (CSS 4660) my second semester. I didn’t even know anyone studied soils, and now I’m very excited about them.
My first semester I also took Introductory Botany and Evolution (BioPl 2410) with Karl Niklas. He’s a brilliant teacher who can draw diagrams on the board with a piece of chalk in each hand. It’s amazing.
Are you doing any independent study?
I’ve been doing research in Taryn Bauerle’s woody root physiology lab, working with one of her graduate students on arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization of maize roots. There are a lot of conflicting results in previous research. So I think it will be interesting to see what happens in this experiment.
Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?
I live in Ecology House – a housing option for students interested in nature and the environment. We’re building a greenhouse on the grounds to grow vegetables for our residents. I am the project manager for the campus wide club (Project Greenhouse) that is spearheading the effort to build the greenhouse.
I’m also involved with Hortus Forum (the undergraduate horticulture club) and the Cornell Outing Club – which is great if you like to hike, backpack in the Adirondacks, or participate in any other outdoor activities.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I’ll probably go on to graduate school and continue doing research, either in plant breeding or soils.
Any advice for prospective students?
The Plant Science major at Cornell is a great program that offers you a chance to work and interact with really top professors in the field. There are lots of opportunities to get involved in research. You just need to seek them out and ask.