Alyssa Gunderson


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am interested in anything in natural resources but particularly in soil science and waste resources.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is a typical day like for you?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    My job offers me a very diverse to-do list. I am primarily a laboratory technician for the soil and waste department on our campus. On a typical day, I might ask a professor what their lab activity will be for the following week and then get it prepared. This might consist of mixing up chemicals that will be used to extract nutrients from soil samples, preparing media that students will grow microorganisms in, setting up columns that will be used to measure water transport through soil, collecting hazardous waste, calibrating lab instruments, and sometimes even collecting a sample of wastewater from the wastewater treatment lab! Often times though, I am getting field equipment ready for students to visit lakes, rivers, wetlands, groundwater well fields, farm fields and even landfills.

    The less fun part of my day is reserving computer labs and vehicles for classes, making photo copies of assignments, or organizing meetings. My favorite part of my job though is teaching! I get to teach lab sections of Introduction to Soil and Water Resources during the school year and a one week Watershed Evaluation Techniques in the summer that is entirely field based.

  • Profile Question 2
    Can you share a funny/interesting lab or field story?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    There was one time a professor had to be gone and asked me to fill in for his lab. I wanted to do a demonstration for the students in the beginning of class so they could see how to do the lab. The students needed to pipette a small amount of liquid into their beakers. So I lifted up the pipette pump and said, "the first thing you're going to want to do is," all of a sudden the glass pipette tip fell and smashed to pieces in front of everyone. At least it relieved some of the nerves I was feeling being in front of them for the first time as the whole class erupted with laughter. That, most certainly, was not the first thing I wanted them to do.

  • 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 orange jewel weed (Impatiens capensis), sometimes called touch-me-not. I above all else just find the flowers to be beautiful. This plant grows along the banks of lakes and rivers and in wetlands, and I have an affinity for water loving plants. It fascinates me that these plants adapt to live in generally unfavorable conditions, such as being wet most of the time.

    Its translucent stems can be broken open to reveal its healing "juice." The sap from jewel weed can eliminate the itching and burning sensation caused by poison ivy or stinging nettle. Just break it open and rub it on your skin. Funny enough, jewel weed is often found growing next to these pesky plants.

    The name jewel weed might come from the fact that the flower dangling looks like a jewel dangling from a necklace. It could also be because if you hold a leaf underwater, the underside shimmers with a silvery color. The name touch-me-not comes from the fact that when a developed seed pod is touched, it launches the seeds up to four feet away! It's super cool, and I encourage you to try it if you see one.

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

  • Availability
    I am NOT available, please temporarily remove me from the available mentor list

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

Recent Posts

nhscohbraposspring2018 project 1 Alyssa Gunderson

Hi guys,

Just checking in. Have any seedlings emerged yet?


Bonhoeffercollege Project 2 Alyssa Gunderson


I'm glad to hear that you are making adjustments as needed. Often times in research things need to change from what you originally planned, so it is good to be flexible and open to new approaches.

Do you all have a hypothesis?…

Bonhoeffercollege Project 2 Alyssa Gunderson

Hello All,

This sounds like an interesting experiment. How are you planning to measure how much salt the plant can take? Will you use height and width measurements of the plants? Will it be based on the color of the plant, or how fast the plant…


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