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Gregory J Pec


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of Nebraska at Kearney

  • Employment Status
    University / College Faculty

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My research focuses on the belowground interactions between plants, microbes, and their environment. I am specifically interested on the role biological invasions, biotic disturbance, and global change play in shaping the structure and, in turn, the functioning of plant and soil microbial communities.

  • Do you have previous experience in mentorship or educational outreach? Please list here (200 words)
    During my time as a graduate student I have mentored undergraduates on various independent projects, which have included how plants recover following fire to the effects of small mammal disturbance on the presence of non-native grasses. As an associate professor, I currently mentor a number of undergraduate and graduate students on independent projects ranging from molecular methods/bioinformatics to plant-soil conservation efforts in forest and prairie ecosystems. I also have extensive outreach experience, which has included being engaged with Wisest, an organization in Alberta, Canada dedicated to empowering women in STEM fields. Currently, I engage with groups underrepresented in STEM as a SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity, and Sustainability Program) Mentor through the Ecological Society of America and as a PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists) Mentor through the Botanical Society of America.

  • Profile Question 1
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    I liked many disciplines in science (biology, chemistry) and had a love for the environment, being outside and discovering what was around the corner on my weekly hikes through the forest. However, it wasn't until I was an undergraduate at university that my interest in teaching would reignite my passion for science. While as a 3rd year undergrad student, I had the opportunity to serve as an aide at the local YMCA where we partnered with several botanists in the area to enhance the after-school program, and as they say, the rest is history. The teaching-mentoring opportunity opened the possibilities of a career in academia and I realized that I could combine and share my love of the environment and the outdoors with my scientific interests.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Its about learning and discovery! Its about figuring out how things are connected and answering questions (at least for me) on why everything isn't everywhere. Its the challenge of trying to figure things out and that every question leads to another question!

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    Growing up on the east coast of the US, I read about, looked at pictures and dreamed about one day seeing a coastal redwood, Sequoia sempervirens. When I finally made it to the Muir woods in northern California, it was awe-inspiring! Redwoods can grow over 300 feet tall and can live for hundreds if not a thousand years plus. Redwoods can capture water from fog moving off the ocean, which drips down and nourishes the plant communities below. Hundreds of epiphytic communities can be supported within a single redwood tree. Ultimately, these redwoods play a major role in coastal forest ecosystems and if you ever get the opportunity to see one of these giants in person, I hope you will see why this is my favorite plant!

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    Botanical Society of America
    Ecological Society of America
    Society for Ecological Restoration

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

  • In addition to English, I am comfortable communicating with students in the following languages:

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

Recent Posts

Plant Nerds 24 Gregory J Pec

Thank you for sharing!

Plant Nerds 24 Gregory J Pec

You're welcome! It was a pleasure working with your students. Their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning made it a rewarding experience.

I'm glad to hear they're developing valuable skills in experimental design, data collection, and…

Plant Nerds 24 Gregory J Pec

You're welcome! Glad our contribution helped your experiment be a success. If there is anything else we can do to assist, just let us know. 



Skills & Endorsements

  • Challenges Student Thinking
    Eleanore Ritter
  • Encouraging
    Eleanore Ritter
  • Experienced
    Eleanore Ritter
  • Knowledgeable
    Eleanore Ritter
  • Responsive
    Eleanore Ritter


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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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