Jessa Finch


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Chicago Botanic Garden

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am interested in how native plant communities will respond to climate change. I focus on effects on early plant life stages, such as seed dormancy break, germination, and seedling establishment.

  • 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):
    Biology was my favorite class in high school, but I did not decide to go into a career in science until I was in college. My sophomore year I took a horticulture and plant evolution class and began a work-study position at the botanic garden at my college. My plant evolution professor recognized my passion for the subject and asked me if I would be interesting in working in his plant ecology lab. From that point on I was completely committed to a career in plant science.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    The best thing about being a scientist is being able to discover new information about the natural world using the scientific method. As a scientist I get to ask questions that currently have no concrete answer, and design an experiment to answer that question. Not only is the process of discovery exciting and satisfying on a personal level, I also get to share my findings with those on the front lines of plant conservation and ecological restoration.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I have many favorite plants, but one that will always be high on the list for me was the subject of my college thesis: Twinleaf. It is botanical name is Jeffersonia diphylla, in honor of Thomas Jefferson. This small, charismatic plant is found on the forest floor throughout the eastern United States. The leaves are deeply lobed, giving the appearance of two twin leaves. Twinleaf produces a distinctive white flower in the spring, which develops into a somewhat strange cone shaped pod. When mature, the lid of the pod lifts up and the seeds inside it are dumped onto the forest floor. Each seed is equipped with a little tasty appendage called an elaiosome. Ants are attracted to the elaiosome and carry the seeds away from the plant, acting as dispersal agents.

  • Availability
    I am currently available for mentoring, please send me team match invitations

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

Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.