My name is Jennifer and I am your mentor for this project. I currently am an Associate Professor of biology and Grand Valley State Universisty, MI. The main focus of my position is teaching and I teach introductory biology, genetics, evolution, plant-fungal interactions, and senior capstone. I really enjoy mentoring students in their own research and currently have three students finishing up research projects on beneficial fungal associations in corn and soybean roots. I spend any free time I have with my family enjoying the outdoors (even in winter), playing games, and cooking (I have an extensive cookbook library).
Answer to some of your questions below
I have always had a love of science. I think this stems from the fact that science helps me understand the world better. There is always more to know, to learn. There are more unanswered questions than answered. It is always surprising to learn how much we do not know.
Of the sciences(chemistry, physics, biology), biology was, and still is, my strongest subject. Within biology I gravitate to plants, fungi, evolution, genetics and development but really I am a generalist and am interested in it all.
I plan on being a professor for the rest of my working career. But what I focus on has and will change. At earlier points in my career, I mostly focused on research. More recently, I was mostly focused on teaching in the classroom and mentoring student research. Currently, I have moved into a more administrative role and divide my time mostly between teaching and work that keeps the department and university working. Next, who knows. I have also been able to pursue volunteer opportunities like working with my kids classes to teach hands on science activities each week.
My favorite plant changes on a regular basis. Today I will say equisetum, commonly known as horsetail. It grows along sides of creeks, and has been around since the dinosaurs. It is a fern but does not look like anything you think of as a typical fern. Everything about this fern is cool. I suggest you look it up.
I look forward to working with you. Please continue to ask questions.
Liaison Marina thought this was an excellent introduction by a mentor!
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Interested in expanding open inquiry opportunities in the classroom?
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PlantingScience F2 Grant Award
We are thrilled to announce that we have been recently been awarded a 5-year, $3.9M grant from the USA’s National Science Foundation. The new project extends previous research on PlantingScience, which showed improvements in student achievement and attitudes toward scientists. This grant will include developing and comparing an online format for collaborative teacher/scientist professional development to an in-person format, including comparing outcomes from students of teachers prepared through the different formats. Read more here.
Each week we feature some of the best projects of the current session here. Go to the Star Projects Gallery to see all the excellent work by star teams in past PlantingScience sessions.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1502892.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
“I liked that we didn’t know what was going to happen before we did the experiment. Instead of being taught something and then just doing an experiment to prove it, we made an attempt to find out what would happen ourselves.”
- PlantingScience Student
“At every opportunity, all involved kept reminding my students of the process that real science requires. This helped me to convince my students that they are really doing science - not just play acting until some future date.”
- PlantingScience Teacher
“It is a lot of fun interacting with students from an age group I don’t have the chance to spend a lot of time with. It is a good reminder of where public knowledge of plant science stands, and a great opportunity for me to practice explaining key concepts in a simple and straightforward way.”
- PlantingScience Mentor