Ana Flores

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Hawaiian Standard Time (UTC-10)

  • Organization
    University of Hawaii at Manoa

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My main research interests is an intersection of how abiotic (non-living environmental) factors affect plant function and how plant response shifts across developmental stages. Plants deal with changing environmental stressors regularly, but how they respond depends on their developmental stage creating a pattern. My research uses a functional trait (traits that affect plant performance and fitness) approach to study how at each stage (seedlings, juveniles, adults) plants respond to stress.

  • Profile Question 1
    Can you describe your attitude toward science when you were in high school?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    While I've always been a curious person, I didn't think being a scientist and doing research studies was possible for someone like me. I was expected to go to law school or medical school no matter how cool I found my high school Biology class to be. I participated in my first science fair following my teacher's advice, and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever done. When I started college I engaged with my science teachers more often and they encouraged me to consider doing more than just reading about science. One professor helped me find volunteer work with the National Parks and local science museum, work that I still enjoy today.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Science can often be disappointing. When you are preparing to start a project, there is a tedious process of planning and developing the methods and protocols. Sometimes the experiment just does not work out. That can be deflating and disappointing. But the lesson is this: it's all part of the discovery process. An experiment that fails is an important learning experience. It took me a while to accept that, but it is a very valuable perspective. The best advice I got about failed experiments is that resilience is a key to success. So what to do after a failed experiment: try, try again.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    My favorite plant is the swamp lilly (Crinum americanum). It grows in wet habitats all over the Southern United States. It produces long, slender leaves from a single stem that has a bulbous root system. It is a very cool plant that you can see all over the Everglades in Florida from a distance because of its beautiful, bright white flowers that develop in clusters of 3 or 5 or 10! It attracts butterflies, but if you look closely, you can see ants inside the flowers searching for nectar.

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

  • Preferred Investigation Themes
    The Wonder of Seeds (seed germination and growth)
    The Power of Sunlight (photosynthesis and respiration)
    Celery Challenge (plant anatomy, osmosis and diffusion)
    Tree-mendous Trees

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    3

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