Holly Andrews


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of California - Riverside

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My research interests are quite broad but are rooted in plant ecology. For my PhD dissertation, I explore how native and invasive plants manipulate their abiotic environments (air temperature, humidity, soil properties) and how these manipulations influence climate at local and regional scales. In the past, I have conducted research looking at plant chemistry and defense and plant-animal interactions (herbivory, pollination, etc.).

  • Profile Question 1
    What was the first science experiment you ever designed? How did it turn out?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    The first experiment I designed on my own was in sophomore year of college. I was working in a lab with a graduate student and we noticed a weird pattern when we were out in the field one day: it looked like the exotic shrub we were studying was attracting this other exotic beetle in the woodlands in southern Ohio. I thought it would be exciting to test whether two species who weren't native to the area were somehow forming this new relationship with each other in their new home. Unfortunately, when I designed my experiment and was ready to actually collect data, the beetle population had crashed and I couldn't find any beetles anywhere, let alone on the plant I was studying! It was a bit of a disheartening experience, but I learned that nature doesn't always behave the way you want it to, and you can always learn something new from your experience even if it doesn't turn out the way you thought it would. In the end, I persevered and was able to modify my study design a bit and get results which I presented as a poster at my university. Doing science is sometimes a struggle but you get a great sense of accomplishment when you get interesting results!

  • 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 was always interested in nature even from a young age, but I really decided I wanted to go into a science research career when I started doing research in an ecology lab in college. I liked being able to ask questions about the world around me and having the opportunity to actually go out and answer those questions (or at least attempt to). I also liked the feeling of community that I got from my lab; everyone was supportive of my own research and I learned a lot from the older students and graduate students in my lab as well. Doing my own research really brought into focus all of the things I had been learning throughout high school and in college lectures; I was able to apply that knowledge and those skills to uncover new information about our world. The sense of curiosity and discovery have been driving forces in me choosing a science career, and I am very happy in my choice.

  • Profile Question 3
    Can you describe your attitude toward science when you were in high school?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    In high school, science was never really my passion. I excelled at it, took multiple honors and AP courses in it throughout high school, and I thought it was a neat subject (along with math), but it just couldn't compare to my interest in music. My favorite parts of the school day were playing in band, singing in choir, and being a drum major in marching band after school. I loved performing and presenting my emotions as only music can do. When it came time for college applications, I really had a tough time deciding a major: biology or music? In the end, I decided that although I liked the performance of music, I found the day-to-day life of a musician kind of tedious and boring, and I just didn't think I had the skill to make it as a performer. If I chose science and research instead, I would have more variability in my day and I would enjoy going to work a lot more (so that it might not even feel like work). Music is still a part of my life (I DID end up completing a minor in music performance!), and it is now one of my hobby passions, but I am much more successful as a scientist than I think I would have been as a musician.

  • 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

Group 7 Eden, Chloe, Jordan Holly Andrews

Hi everyone,

Thanks for updating the project info!  It looks like you have put together a well-thought-out experiment that will test your hypothesis.  I want to challenge you to think a little bit more about how your…

Group 7 Eden, Chloe, Jordan Holly Andrews

Hi Eden, Jordan, and Chloe!  It's so nice to meet you!  My name is Holly; I am a graduate student in ecology at the University of California - Riverside campus studying how desert ecosystems respond to rain.  I love being an…


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