2017 Interns

Displaying 18 interns

bmallen's picture
Brooke Allen is studying Biology at North Central College and is expecting to graduate in 2018
About Me:
I grew up in a small island town on the Gulf coast of Florida and moved to Illinois for college. My favorite plant is the bald cypress tree because it reminds me of home. I enjoy being outdoors, painting, reading and learning about plants! I’m interested in studying plant genetics, pathways, and interactions and how they affect the ecosystem as a whole.
Scientific Question:



An overview of my project investigating the effects of inter- and intraspecific competition on morphological and architectural plastic root responses in restoration relevant plants native to the Colorado Plateau and how they affect soil components and mycorrhizal associations.

Justyn's picture
Justyn Carrasco is studying Plant Biology at Illinois State University and is expecting to graduate in 2020
About Me:
I am going into my sophomore year at Illinois State University. I am interested in plant biology. I wish to become a conservation biologist at the molecular level, to show that species need diversity for their success. Prior to becoming an REU I was a part of the College First program here at the garden, this peaked my interest in molecular work. I also interned at the Desert Botanic Garden working in their conservation lab introducing me to conservation at the molecular level. My favorite part of biology or science in general is that your work revolves around your interest and allows you to ask and answer question that you are passionate about! During my time as an REU I want to know what it is like to work on a project semi independently what it is like to analyze the data(which I am not familiar with).
Scientific Question:


Living collections are important when it comes to the conservation of exceptional species. It also provides plants with the care they need to complete their reproductive cycle. In this video, I will be discussing how living collections are useful and explain some of the issues that need to be considered to maximize their value.

Elizabeth Donaldson's picture
Elizabeth Donaldson is studying Biology at University of Northwestern - St. Paul and is expecting to graduate in 2019
About Me:
I am a sophomore student of biology in the Twin Cities, and I have loved nature ever since my earliest camping trips to northern Minnesota when I was very young! Currently, my research interests center on genetics, population biology, and biomedical advancement. I am also an enthusiast of great literature and classical music, especially the Scandinavian choral tradition which is so prevalent in my home state. This summer, I am studying paternity and genetic diversity in different Clarkia populations. The goal of this project is to determine if different pollinators are more or less effective at introducing genetically-diverse pollen to plants.
Scientific Question:

The genetic diversity of a population contributes to the overall fitness of a population, and is therefore an important focus in plant conservation. However, there is still much to be learned about the factors which influence genetic diversity. Learn how researchers at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL, are using molecular genetics to track the influence of pollinators on gene flow!

https://www.chicagobotanic.org/research (I reference this link at the end of my video.)

afang8's picture
Anita Fang at Adlai E. Stevenson High School and is expecting to graduate in 2018

aflores's picture
Ana Flores is studying Biological Sciences at Florida International University and is expecting to graduate in 2018
About Me:
I am a Biology major at FIU in Miami, Florida, with a focus on Ecology and Evolution. I am generally interested in animal and plant adaptations to rapidly changing ecosystems, particularly due to extreme climate variation. I believe that if we understand how plants and animals adapt, even on a very small evolutionary scale, we can improve conservation, and properly inform restoration efforts. This summer I'll be studying how seeds, sourced from different regions for prairie restoration, compare when exposed to a simulated frost event. Personally, I am an avid reader. Also, I am optimistic about the potential of the internet to serve Science as a vehicle for communicating with the non-scientific public.
Scientific Question:



Current efforts to restore prairie ecosystems require that ecologists and land managers choose a seed sourcing strategy that minimizes genetic risks and increases adaptive potential in the face of climate change. A common garden study was conducted to compare the phenology and fitness of plants sourced from three potential regions differing by latitude. After observing low seedling establishment of southern-sourced plants in Chamaecrista fasciculata, we compared frost tolerance across sources, generation, and development stage. 

fgijsman's picture
Finote Gijsman is studying Plant Biology and Environmental Sciences at Northwestern University and is expecting to graduate in 2019

Corina Godoy's picture
Corina Godoy is studying Environmental Science and Management at Humboldt State University and is expecting to graduate in 2018
About Me:
I am an environmental science and management major with a focus on ecological restoration. I attend Humboldt State University in Northern California, but I grew up in a small city in Southern California. My favorite plant is white sage because it is one of the first plants I learned to identify. I like to paint and go rock climbing in my free time. I am excited to learn more about parasitic plant relationships and the indirect effects that result from these interactions.
Scientific Question:



To measure the degree of stress that different forms of competition put on plants, we measured the expression of an induced defense in Koeleria macrantha. This is an overview of the process of collecting blades, staining epidermal peels, and data collection done to answer the question, how do antagonistic interactions impact induced defenses?

Jalen's picture
Jalen Holloway is studying Environmental Science at Humboldt State University and is expecting to graduate in 2017
About Me:
Hi there, I grew up in Southern California. I enjoy watching sports, which include soccer and basketball. Also, writing is a big hobby of mine. More specifically, I like to write both novels and poems in my spare time. When I went to college, I found my passion in both Environmental science and Botany, and I plan to get my Master's degree in Botany. Through this program, I want to learn more about undertaking a research project.
Scientific Question:



The video discusses O. organensis in regards to the impacts that ex-situ conservation could have on its morphology, phenology, and self-incompatibility. Also, it briefly discusses the main pollinator of O. organensis, and the overarching goals of this research for expanded knowledge on ex-situ conservation.

thecondense@gmail.com's picture
Evana James is studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science and is expecting to graduate in 2020
Scientific Question:



Brighamia insignis, also known as Olulu, Alula, or “cabbage on a stick”, is a shrub-like, semi-succulent caudiciform endemic to the Hawaiian islands of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau. B. insignis is one of only two species in the Brighamia genus, both being critically endangered in the wild. The main distinguishing feature separating the two species is their differing flower colors. Due to lack of genetic fitness, loss of sole pollinator, the threat of invasive plant and animal species, human interference, and hurricanes, Alula has been brought to near extinction in the wild. The objective is to accumulate international off-site (ex situ) samples from gardens and institutions to test the genetic diversity.

marinamalone's picture
Marina Malone is studying Computer Engineering and is expecting to graduate in 2020
About Me:
I like plants and programming!

spark8's picture
Sarah Park at Adlai E Stevenson High School and is expecting to graduate in 2018

rpkamakura's picture
Renata Poulton Kamakura is studying Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolution Specialization at University of Chicago and is expecting to graduate in 2018
About Me:
As a diplomat's kid, I have grown up all over the place and love to travel and explore. I also love to play sports and hike and be outdoors, and so I, unsurprisingly, really enjoy field work as well. I am most interested in conservation biology and get the chance to work on restoration in tallgrass prairies this summer.
Scientific Question:



This movie explains our study’s definition of invasive species and how the abundance and diversity of the invading seeds may affect invasion success. It also briefly outlines our approach to testing these hypotheses and why this study is important.

skr52's picture
Stephanie Roh is studying Environmental Science & Sustainability at Cornell University and is expecting to graduate in 2019
About Me:
I am interning as a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar from Cornell University. I will be working on a project with Nora Gavin-Smyth on the genetic rescue of Cirsium hillii, an endangered thistle native to the Illinois prairie. I'm from Hoboken, New Jersey and this will be my first time in Chicago! I love winter sports, traveling, and growing my plant collection.
Scientific Question:

Genetic rescue is a potential conservation technique for rare plant species found in small fragmented populations. It involves transferring genetically diverse alleles to augment populations that are inbred and have low genetic diversity. In this video, I explain how my mentor Nora Gavin-Smyth and I investigated whether genetic rescue would be effective at increasing seed set for the rare species Hill's thistle (Cirsium hillii).

imenavaldes's picture
Imeña Valdes is studying Biological Sciences at Florida International University and is expecting to graduate in 2018
About Me:
I grew up in both South and Central Florida, and relocated to Miami again to attend FIU. My research interests are in plant/animal interactions, ethnobotany, and agriculture in the tropics. I love everything tropical, especially plants and fruits! This summer my project is focusing on flowering phenology of three different populations of Asclepias syriaca where we'll be monitoring pollinator visitation and how that changes over the course of the season.
Scientific Question:



A concern regarding climate change is plant-pollinator mismatch, which is essentially mismatched timing between flowering and pollinator emergence that could cause a reduction in fitness in both plant and pollinator. Insect collection and pinning is an important method to monitor pollinator visitation, abundance, and diversity throughout the season.

anniw7's picture
Anni Wang is studying Biological Science at Florida State University and is expecting to graduate in 2017
Scientific Question:



Diatoms are a group of unicellular algae responsible for one fifth of the world’s primary productivity. A productive way to study the diversity and protein functions of different diatom species is through the implementation of various bioinformatics and genomic tools.

smweil's picture
Sydney Weil is studying Biology at Amherst College and is expecting to graduate in 2018
About Me:
I grew up in Northern California, where I developed a love of nature, which turned into a passion for conservation. I'm excited to spend the summer researching hawkmoths and their interactions with Oenothera harringtonii for my honors thesis. In my spare time, I love reading, hiking, and riding horses.
Scientific Question:



This summer, we’ve been testing hawkmoth caterpillars to see if they have a preference when it comes to choosing food sources. We have also been trying to determine if the caterpillars grow better on these preferred food sources.

Soil_Quality's picture
Nathanael Williams is studying Environmental Biology at Ferris State University and is expecting to graduate in 2018
About Me:
I'm a senior at Ferris State University in Michigan, studying environmental biology. I grew up in small towns where the only thing to do is play outside; It's learned to love the outdoors and everything that it has to offer. I'm an active person who enjoys athletics, working out, reading research articles and video games. Constantly evaluating my performance and focusing on how to improve whatever activity I'm doing has driven me to want to work in the field of research, so I'm very grateful for this opportunity! I will be working with Louise Egerton in the soil lab, hoping to contribute toward a better understanding of the inner workings of soil.