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Dirk Vanderklein


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Montclair State University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I study how plants respond to changes in their environment and how plants change our environment.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    Larches are my favorite tree (a kind of plant) because they are pretty and they lose their leaves even though they are conifers (which are mostly evergreen).

  • 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):
    I decided to go into science as a career when I was an undergraduate student. I got to work on some research projects involving trees as an undergraduate and got very interested in the questions that were being asked and the way people were going about trying to answer those questions.

  • Profile Question 3
    Can you share a funny/interesting lab or field story?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    An interesting story happened to me last summer. I spent 2 months trying to set up a new experiment in a forest when one day I discovered that someone or something had vandalized my instruments. This made me upset, but I put everything together again only to find everything messed up again 2 weeks later. At that point I discovered claw marks on the container holding my instruments. It was a bear and apparently he/she did not like my research! I was never able to collect any usable data last summer because, no matter what I did to dissuade the bear, it kept coming back and knocking all my instruments on the ground. This summer, I took measures and got a stronger box to hold my instruments and pounded stakes around the box so that the bear could not knock it over. So far the bear has left things alone. I also put a sign on the box explaining what the research is about. I guess the bear has decided it is okay with what I doing.

  • 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?

Skills & Endorsements

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