Susan Mary Bush


  • Time Zone

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I work with tomatoes, to try and understand how they respond to the environment, especially how they grow in stressful conditions. I also work with wild tomatoes that grow in the desert and other places in South America, to understand how they grow and respond differently than the domestic tomatoes we eat.

  • Do you have previous experience in mentorship or educational outreach? Please list here (200 words)
    I've been working with Planting Science since 2012! I love doing science outreach and working with students of all ages.

  • Profile Question 1
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    I always loved poking around outside - in holes in trees, under decaying leaves, with moss and mold, or by a lake or river bank. I thought it would be great if there was a job where you could just know all the cool information about all the things living in a lake or a forest. (It turns out, there is: an ecologist often knows those things, and uses that information to help people make good decisions about how to take care of the living things and their habitat!)

    In high school, I was really interested in DNA and genetics, and in genetically modified organisms like corn. When I went to college, I was really excited to learn more about genetics and about how to make GMOs. I had the chance to work with a plant biologist - I didn't even know that was a career option! I decided to get a PhD (a doctorate degree) so that I could keep learning about genes and plants.

    Now, I help high school and college students learn about how we learn new things in science, and help them ask and answer questions about the world (the plants! the DNA!) around us.

  • Profile Question 2
    Do you have advice for students about preparing for a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    There are lots of types of science and a lot of ways to prepare for a science career! One important thing is that scientists like to learn more about the world around us, using lots of different tools.

    You're learning about plant science and biology right now, but other types of science include chemistry, physics, meteorology, astronomy, biochemistry, environmental science, physiology: so many! But all types of scientists look at what we know, and what we'd like to know, and figure out how to fill that gap.

    You can prepare for a career in science by finding out lots about what you're interested in. The more you know about how planets orbit stars, or about how DNA is replicated, the more you'll want to know! There are lots of connections between the different sciences, too, so even if you're interested in biology, it's a good idea to learn physics and math and computer science and chemistry, too.

    Another good way to prepare for a career in science is to ask questions. Scientists love to answer questions! You could ask, what do you study? You could ask, what types of jobs are there for a biologist? Or, do I have to work in a lab and wear a labcoat, or can I work outside? What techniques do you use to answer your research question? Do you love your job? You could ask, I really like [this one topic]. What kind of scientist studies this? I guarantee you'll learn a lot from asking questions (inside the classroom and out!).

  • Profile Question 3
    (not set)

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    (not set)

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    American Society of Plant Biologists

  • How did you hear about PlantingScience?

  • Availability
    I am NOT available, please temporarily remove me from the available mentor list

  • In addition to English, I am comfortable communicating with students in the following languages:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts


Hi ladies, 

Thanks for sharing your poster presentation with me! I hope you enjoy your break AND that you think about what's going on with any trees that might be in or around your house over the break...are they doing photosynthesis?…

commented on a blog post

Nice! I'm really impressed that your hypothesis was supported - you must be doing really neat, organized work to see changes in pH both up and down. 

Are you heading into winter break yet - or is there more Planting Science coming up?…


Terrific, ladies! 

Did you see a difference between the ambient light and the 22 cm plants? This is the one I'm most interested in! 

What's next for your experiments? Are you going to write up your findings at all? 



Skills & Endorsements

  • Challenges Student Thinking
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  • Encouraging
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  • Experienced
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  • Knowledgeable
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  • Responsive
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