Greta Rockstad

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Eastern

  • Organization
    North Carolina State University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am broadly interested in finding ways to make agriculture more sustainable through plant breeding, whether that's breeding plants to be more drought tolerant, breeding for disease resistance to reduce pesticide use, or breeding cover crops that can add both environmental and economic value. Right now, my project focuses on finding regions of the genome that contribute to drought resistance in a species of turfgrass commonly grown in the southeastern US, St. Augustinegrass.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    As a plant breeder, my favorite plant is Brassica oleracea. This Latin name encompasses many common vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and a couple more. I love this species because it shows how intraspecific variation, time, and the power of directed selection for certain aspects--inflorescences in cauliflower, leaves for kale, and buds for Brussels sprouts--can produce such striking and delicious differences!

  • Profile Question 2
    What is a typical day like for you?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    For most scientists, I'd say there's no such thing as a typical day. In plant science, a lot of our research is dictated by the season. My project involves work in the lab, field, greenhouse, and of course, the computer.
    In the winter, I spend a lot of time on my computer doing data analysis, reading more about my research topic, and doing lab experiments.
    In the spring, I'm preparing my plants for the field by taking care of them in the greenhouse and generally spend my afternoons working on my computer.
    In the summer, I'm out in the field several days a week collecting data on my plots and making sure everything is healthy while also helping out with the rest of the breeding program's activities.
    In the fall, field season is winding down, but crossing season in the greenhouses is happening, so I spend my mornings in the greenhouse and afternoons working on my computer.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    It's hard to choose the best thing, but I love being a plant scientist because I get to do so many different things as well as learn about a variety of topics while pursing something I care about AND make a career out of it! I do things ranging from flying a drone, to making crosses in the greenhouse, to creating graphs on the computer, to extracting DNA in the lab, to giving presentations about my work to fellow scientists and farmers. The topics I get to learn about include genetics, statistics, data analysis, soil science, pathology, agronomy, physiology, and so much more!

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    2

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