Amy Dykstra


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Bethel University

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I study the effects of habitat fragmentation on native prairie plants. I am also interested in the effects of light on plants.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    My favorite plant is Echinacea angustifolia, narrow-leaved purple coneflower. It is a native prairie plant, and has a pretty, easy-to-spot flower. Whenever I see one, I suspect that it is growing in a patch of native prairie, or has been planted in a native seed mixture. Echinacea plants are perennials; each spring, they grow new leaves (and sometimes flowering stalks) from their taproot. They are pollinated by native bees, and provide food for aphids, ants, and moths.

  • Profile Question 2
    What was the first science experiment you ever designed? How did it turn out?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    My first science experiment was when I was in 8th grade. I bought two small plants and watered one with cold water and the other with warm water. The warm water plant grew a little bit more (but it also started out bigger). I learned that I needed to replicate my experimental and control groups to get data I could be confident in.

  • 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):
    The most important thing is to be curious about what you observe in nature. As you walk through a park or even down a street, observe the living things, and ask why they grow the way they do. In school, learn as much as you can about science and math. These two subjects provide the foundation for scientific research. Also, take advantage of opportunities to learn how to use computers.

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

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