Catherine Vrentas


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    (not set)

  • Employment Status
    Industry / Private Company

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My scientific research interests vary--I like studying different types of things! I have studied microbes that cause disease, as well as microbes that live in the soil around plants. In the past, my students took sediments from a swamp and explored the microbes that lived in the different layers. I recently worked with university students to research, design, and plant a garden with plants that have traditionally been used as medicines in the Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern United States.

    For teams interested in the new module on plant diseases--I have a lot of experience with microbiology that would be relevant

  • Profile Question 1
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    My favorite plant is the Southern Magnolia tree. I love the shininess of the leaves, the shape of the flowers, and most importantly, the lemony scent of the blooms. When I was in high school, I had to prepare a project in English class about a flower, and I chose the magnolia. I discovered a famous painter who captured its beauty (Martin Johnson Heade) and have enjoyed these images ever since.

  • Profile Question 2
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    When I was younger, I loved to explore outside. I had a small book with ideas for experiments. I still remember trying one out where I put water and soil in a 2 L soda bottle, shook it up, and let the different layers settle. I could see all the different types of things inside. When I was in high school, my advanced biology teacher always went above and beyond to find cool new things to show us. She even brought in a flower that smelled like rotting meat to attract flies that would pollinate it. She is the reason I selected Biology in particular for my career.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    The best thing about being a scientist is to discover new things that no one in the whole world ever knew before. You are an explorer!

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    (not set)

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

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

Recent Posts

Aces 22 Catherine Vrentas

Hi team! I imagine that may have been challenging to not see any pollen on the pollen traps, but we can think through why we might not have seen any at this time. Can you think of any hypothesis for why we may not have captured pollen? 

Aces 22 Catherine Vrentas

Hi team, thanks for sharing the additional detail! While it isn't easy to see pollen, you are definitely right in that pollen researchers will use traps to determine how much pollen is collected over a certain amount of time. I will look forward…

shscasesweeneyspring2022 project 30 Catherine Vrentas

Hi team! I just wanted to check in and see how your plant explorations have been going :)

Skills & Endorsements

  • Challenges Student Thinking
    Marina Borges Osorio
  • Encouraging
    Marina Borges Osorio
  • Experienced
    Marina Borges Osorio
  • Knowledgeable
    Marina Borges Osorio
  • Responsive
    Marina Borges Osorio