Marcia Harrison-Pitaniello


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Marshall University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I have been involved in investigating the role of ethylene on plant physiology-specifically in terms of its role in abiotic stress and gravitropism

  • Profile Question 1
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    As part of a class project, we started looking at plant hairs, called trichomes. We became totally enthralled with these and made them a class research project. Once we read an article of the fluorescent compounds in plant hairs, I began taking leaf images on the confocal microscope. I now have a photo collection of these images. I have brought microscopes at local events so that people can look at the plant hairs. People are amazed at what is sticking out of a leaf! From the class material and the images, I made a YouTube video, Why are some plant so hairy.

  • Profile Question 2
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I started my career with a science project in 9th grade. The project was part of my biology class, and I decided to study plant hormones. With the encouragement of my teacher, I entered science fair competitions and won some of them. I worked with this science teacher on the project all through high school. Then, I just never stopped working on the project in some form or another-it became what I wanted to do with my life.

  • Profile Question 3
    Do you have advice for students about preparing for a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    Take the math and science courses that you need to succeed. Don't be afraid of taking the hard classes, because they will help you in the long run. When you run into obstacles, get help. All of us have gotten stuck on a problem or a concept. It is overcoming the obstacle that helps you grow as a scientist. This is especially true when you do research, where you are defining problems to understand. It is your job to persevere when experiments don't turn out the way you plan. Being able to worth through these is important.

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

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