Jessica Rae Bernardin


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Boise State University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am interested in the role microbial communities play in plant and ecosystem health. Microbes associated with plants have specific functions that may have important impacts on the plants' health and the health of the ecosystem as a whole. My research is focused on understanding the functions microbial communities perform and how those functions change through time and space.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    My favorite plant is the pearl milkweed vine (Matelea reticulata). They are in an amazing family of plants that are toxic to many herbivores, they have beautiful green flowers and an iridescent pearl in the center of each flower. They are an important host to Queen and Monarch butterflies!

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    A typical day for me starts around 5:30 am, I get ready for school, take my kids to school, and head to the lab. Once in the lab, I get all the supplies I need for the day loaded up on a cart, and head to the growth chamber room. Then I collect bacterial samples from my pitcher plants, take measurements, pictures, notes, and other data. Once finished collecting data, I head back down to the main lab to freeze all my samples, do analysis on some of the samples, and record my data on the computer. I usually try to spend 2 hours writing in the afternoon while my assays are running. I usually work in the lab till 6 pm then I head home to have dinner with my family. Some days when I am very busy I might need to work a little more in the evenings to catch up on reading and writing but I try to use my evening time to focus on my family!

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I think the best part of being a scientist is having the opportunity to be both creative and regimented at the same time. Designing experiments requires me to follow a certain set of rules but also, I love the fact that I have to be creative in how I view the world and the questions I can ask!

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

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