Carol L Stuessy


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Texas A&M University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I have expertise to mentor projects needing help with all phases of scientifi inquiry, especially experimental design. Areas of study with which I am most familiar include light and electron microscopy, cellular biology, photosynthesis, plant flowering, and physiology.

  • Profile Question 1
    What lessons have you learned in your career about how science works?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    In and out of school, I learned science by doing science since I was a pre-schooler. Doling science experiments built the foundation for an undergraduate degree in plant science at the University of Texas. A science teaching degree the next year at the Ohio State University landed me in a high school biology classroom, which quickly became a new testbed for investigation. My questions were still about diversity, but this time they were about the diversity of students in my classroom and what experiences would engage them in learning through science, rather than about science. Teaching high school biology consumed my world for three years. With reluctance, I left teaching to follow my husband to Harvard University as he pursued post-doctoral studies. At Harvard, I worked as an assistant in a plant ecologist’s laboratory with undergraduate and graduate student researchers. We pursued answers to questions about co-evolution, adaptation, and speciation. The year at Harvard provided me with time for reflection and mind experiments, “inquiries about inquiry teaching” (Minstrell & vanZee, 2000), as I pondered how best connect my students’ learning science through doing science, just as the young scientists and I were learning and doing science in the ecologist’s laboratory. I came back to Columbus to complete a Ph.D. in science education, working in a plant phycologists, laboratory as a graduate student. Since that time, I have bridged learning science with doing science in my academic career at Texas A&M University (for 27 years and now nearing retirement).

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Right now, the night-blooming Cereus is a favorite (all are really favorites, though). The plant is fascinating in a number of ways: its peculiar ways of reproducing vegetatively, night blooming and pollination patterns, and its fascinating floral structures.

  • Profile Question 3
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    The world of living things has always been fascinating. The more I have learned, the more I have wanted to learn. Without the help of mentors, however, I would have never had the rewarding career I have enjoyed as one who teachers others how to structure learning environments so that students can learn by doing. The science career path I chose as a science educator is based on the mentorship of others. Significant are memories of my father’s teaching me to draw, a middle school science teacher’s sharing his endless supply of science books whenever I expressed a need to know about something (this was before the internet!), a high school biology teacher’s trust with a key to the school laboratory for doing unsupervised weekend science, and research scientists’ offers to work with them in their laboratories. A cherished Christmas present in junior high was a “real” microscope, which was a collaborative endeavor between my parents and my biology teacher. The microscope kept me busy for years examining the diversity of living things in rivers, canals and ditches up and down the subtropical Rio Grande Valley. In my current position at the university level, I have mentored 40 graduate students in the completion of their doctoral degrees and 3 masters' theses who later pursued doctorates at other universities. There is no better reward than opening doors for individuals desiring to pursue a science-related career.

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    (not set)

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

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

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