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Kate Eisen


  • Time Zone
    US Eastern or Pacific

  • Organization
    Cornell University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I study the interactions between flowering plants and the animals that pollinate them. I am curious about why pollinators may be attracted to certain plants and if this changes depending on which plant species co-occur in a habitat.

  • 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 didn’t really like science when I was in middle school and high school, but I’ve always loved spending time outdoors--hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and sailing are some of my favorite things to do. When I was in college, I took an ecology course for the first time and I realized that ecologists get to spend a lot of time out in nature, designing research projects to address questions they have about the natural world. That sounded like a pretty cool job to me, so now I’m in graduate school studying why flowers have flashy traits like bright colors, stinky scents, and different shapes.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    This is such a tough question for me--so many plants are so cool in lots of different ways! My top 3 favorite plants are: 1. the saguaro cactus (they are so tall!) 2. Passion flowers (check out their flowers!) 3. Birds of paradise (again, pretty neat flowers!)

  • Profile Question 3
    What is a typical day like for you?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    One of the things that I love about being a scientist is that I get to do lots of different things, so the work that I do each day varies a lot, depending on the time of year and how my research is going. When I’m on campus during the school year, I might spend parts of my day helping to teach an undergraduate course, thinking up an idea for a new project and writing a grant proposal to fund it, or analyzing data I’ve collected from a summer field research project. Sometimes I grow plants in a greenhouse on campus, and I’m always trying to find time to read lots of scientific articles to see what other people are studying and what they’ve been learning about plants and pollinators. During the summers, I do field research in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in southern California. It’s a really beautiful area, and I get to hang out with lots of other scientists who are doing research in the area, so we have a lot of fun. We also work really hard because our plants are only flowering for about six weeks each year! A typical day in the field might involve watching bees pollinate plants, measuring floral traits on plants, or looking for new sites where our species occur.

  • 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


Hi team,

Thanks for these updates! It's neat to hear that you have seen differences across some of the species and soil types. I'm curious to hear a bit more about why you think there were these differences--for instance, why do you think the soybeans might have sprouted in the sand only?

I think that making a storyboard outline like that is a great way of organizing your poster presentation. have you thought about how you are going to display your results? Do you have ideas for making a graph or data table? 

One last thing to think about is what type of follow up experiment or experiments would you like to do next if you could, based on your results? I think this is always a fun question to think about, and it's what scientists do at the end of every experiment.

Keep up the great work, I'm looking forward to hearing more soon about how you present your project!


Corny Seeds Kate Eisen

Hi team! Sorry I haven't been around that much this week--I have been really busy working on an experiment with some California wildflowers. I'm going to upload some photos in the "files" section so that you can see what they look like. I am working with two different species that produce really different looking flowers.

In terms of all of your updates from this week, it sounds like everything is going pretty well overall. In terms of the confounding variable that you were talking about, the fact that you have class at a different time each day, I think that is ok. I don't think it will make a huge difference in your measurements that some days actually a few more hours than other days, but, if you want to try to account for this, one thing you could do is turn your measurements into rates--so you could figure out how many hours it's been since you last measured, and then divide your growth measurement by that number of hours. This will probably give you really low numbers, but it would make your measurements more standardized in a way.

Are you surprised about the room temperature seed being the first one to germinate or the biggest seed? I know you're measuring the amount of growth, but have you noticed any other differences, like the color of the seed or the new growth?

Also, I haven't really worked with soybeans before so I'm not sure how long they generally take to germinate, Myla, but it seems like from what Selena wrote, it should take only a few days.

Looking forward to hearing more soon! Keep up the great work!



Hi team,

Thanks for the update! I’m glad to hear your plants are growing, and your watering protocol sounds good. Keep me posted if anything changes or if you come up with any questions!

Looking forward to hearing more soon!


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