Tatyana Yazmine Soto


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    PurdUe universtiy

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    In my undergrad i woRked wIth three naturally rare serpentinE endemic species, QUANTIFYING the genetic diversity in I Non-coDing markers. The goal was to UsE the population genetics data To properly Inform conservation effOrts. Now in my Graduate Studies, i am interested in the evolution Of Plant mating systems. Specifically i will be looKing at the MAINTENANCE of outcrossing in cleistogamous species Using inbreeding depression and Heterosis experiMents.

  • 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):
    My first trip to a National Park (Yosemite) a few weeks before my first day of undergrad was a huge turning point for my future career plans. I grew up low income in the very urbanized SF Bay Area & didn’t have access to natural spaces. I had no idea that plant sciences was even a career path, but being surrounded by huge monoliths like El Capitan, vast meadows, and clear creeks made me fall in love with the outdoors. In undergrad I realized that Botany was a field I could pursue & I fell in love with the diversity of plants & how resilient they must be because they are sedentary. I ran with it & never looked back!

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    My favorite plant is Calochortus tiburonensis (Tiburon Mariposa Lily). It is my favorite plant because it is a serpentine endemic, so it grows in extremely toxic & poorly structured soils. It is a long lived perennial & has the ability to go dormant during unfavorable growing years. The coolest aspect of this species is that it has always existed as a single population & has persisted as this one population in the entire world. It is a very resilient plant because it also battles heavy herbivory, the plant only produces a single strap-like leaf that gets chewed off by jack rabbits. However, it’s population levels remain stable.

  • Profile Question 3
    Do you have advice for students about preparing for a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I would let students know to prepare to accept that pursuing a science career means you will have to accept that mistakes are part of the journey. However, mistakes do not mean that you are a failure or that you aren’t intelligent. Mistakes allow you to grow & are an essential part of becoming an amazing scientist. Lastly I would tell them to always reach out for help when they are feeling unsure, it is really easy to get into an imposter syndrome mindset, but find a mentor that you can reach out to when having doubts about your ability to pursue a science career. Overall, I would tell them how exciting science can be when you are super interested in your study system, so find a field of science that you love!

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

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