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Josh Felton


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Cornell University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    Botanists like myself are fascinated with the different ways plant can mate because it explains why some groups of plants have lots of species of plants and why there are other groups with very few species.

    Similar to how you have a family tree of your relatives, I am looking at the pineapple family tree (phylogeny) to compare how closely related species of pineapples mate in different ways. To describe these differences, I look at flower shape traits (e.g., flower size, where floral organs are positioned in the flower) to see if those explain why closely related species of pineapples mate in different ways.

    The more other scientists and I learn about how plants mate, we can use the knowledge to save plant biodiversity, especially for plants that cannot make seeds with their own flowers. In the case of these plants, conservation efforts will have to include intervention during pollination to make sure plants can produce seeds.

  • Do you have previous experience in mentorship or educational outreach? Please list here (200 words)
    I'm involved with the Bromeliad Life History Project, which promotes institutional collaboration and citizen science. K-12 students and educators from Miami-Dade County schools are applying protocols I developed to collect reproductive measurements on Florida native bromeliads.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    Without a doubt, my favorite plant is the common mullein (Verbascum thapsus). It was the first plant that captured my heart, and because it's a widespread cosmopolitan weed, I've been fortunate enough to come across it all over the United States! Mullein can grow up to 6-7 feet tall, so whenever I encounter a mullein plant that's about my height, I try to get a picture standing next to it. I'm always on the hunt for the tallest mullein!

  • Profile Question 2
    Can you describe your attitude toward science when you were in high school?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I had a love-hate relationship with science in high school. While I enjoyed physics and biology, I really struggled both academically and mentally with chemistry. When I took chemistry in 10th grade, the challenges I faced in the class almost led me down a different career path than becoming a scientist. However, I then took biology the following year and fell in love with the subject. In my senior year, I took an environmental science class and was engrossed by the idea that there are scientists who work outside! From that point onwards, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that revolved around biology and field-based work.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    The best part of being a scientist is getting paid to ask questions about the natural world around us! Along with asking questions, being a scientist means that you're part of a community of individuals who share your passion for asking questions, brainstorming ideas, and exploring new thoughts and hypotheses.

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

Recent Posts

Saucy Scientists Josh Felton

thanks for the help Sam! 

Saucy Scientists Josh Felton

Thank you and your squad for being inquisitive, and saucy scientists! 

Saucy Scientists Josh Felton

Hi team, I hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving break. Your information section looks wonderful but I do have one question: the conclusion ends with an ellipsis (fancy word to describe ..." Do yall think you could finish that sentence‚Ķ


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NSF_Logo.jpg This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #2010556 and #1502892. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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