Claire T Hann


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of South Carolina

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am interested in how plants are able to detect and protect themselves from dangers in their environment, like microorganisms, insects, lack of water, and temperature changes. I study how plants send their own cells the signals that end up allowing them to survive!

  • 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):
    Ever since I was in elementary school, learning about biology was one of my favorite things to do. Whether it be swimming in the ocean, or playing with bugs in the yard, or walking in the woods, I enjoyed being outside and experiencing nature. Once I got to college, and started studying biology, I realized that I would only be happy with my career if I was making a contribution to scientific knowledge. I saw it as part of my life goal to understand as much as I could about biology in order to make at least one significant discovery. At some point I realized that this choice was scary. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to become a good scientist. But I decided that it was worth it, and to believe that I could make a difference.

    Part of this conviction is what motivates me to work with younger students, too. Convincing young people that there is a place in science for them is the first step in cultivating a love for discovery.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Because plants don’t run, walk, or talk, we tend to see them as not being organisms that communicate with their environment. In other words, that they can’t sense anything around them. This is totally untrue! In order to survive, plants need to be able to “feel” what is going on so that their systems can prepare themselves for the stress. Is it too cold? Is it too hot? Are insects eating me? Am I getting enough vitamins and minerals to do well, or do I need to get more? All these are examples of things that plants can sense, and that they can react to by controlling how their system works. This ability has allowed them to exist on planet Earth for millions of years, and plants have evolved more and more sophisticated ways of preparing themselves for their environment over time!

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    Sometimes your discoveries may play a very small role in explaining a much bigger picture about how people understand biology. That small discovery may take a very long time and a lot of hard work to achieve. Sometimes this can make your achievements as a scientist seem very small and can make being a scientist feel like a really tough job. Also sometimes research is very expensive, and not beign sure whether we can pay for research, can keep us from pursuing answers to the questions we ask. However, we learn to appreciate that each small discovery can lead humans to better understand the world we live in. This makes the hard work scientists do worth the constant struggle! We are all in it together, to little by little understand more.

  • 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

Group Gilbert Claire T Hann

Wow team!  I see you have learned a lot about C-fern germination and initial growth, and even fertilization! I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

It seems that so far you are observing the plants to learn their life cycle and their anatomical…

i science Claire T Hann

Hi Team! It appears you all have decided on what experiments will be doing.

I have a question about the hot plate aspect of your group experiment. Have you decided what temperature to heat your water to? You should definitely check the…

Group Gilbert Claire T Hann

*themselves -- sorry typo!

Skills & Endorsements

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