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Hannah Kinmonth-Schultz

I am interested in how plants sense and respond to environmental changes, and would ultimately like to use an approach that integrates scientific disciplines to elucidate these mechanisms further. I received my Masters in Forest Resources under the advisement of Dr. Kim, working to understand how reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), an aggressive wetland weed, will respond to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Under our current atmospheric conditions, reed canary grass uses carbon to grow rapidly and shade out other plant species, but it also stores carbon in underground structures called rhizomes allowing it to spread into new locations. Reed canary grass is aided by fertilizer in agricultural run-off, and so I considered the effects of carbon dioxide in conjunction with fertilization.

hannah

I am now pursuing a PhD in Biology, and will be co-advised by Dr. Kim and molecular biologist Dr. Takato Imaizumi so that I can learn a broad range of techniques by which to understand plant/environment interactions. Plants, like all organisms, have an intrinsic clock which allows them to record changes in day length and temperature ensuring that important life events like bud-break or flowering occur at the right time. I will be working to understand the molecular mechanisms by which plants sense variations in temperature, and will use my background in physiological ecology to test our conclusions under more natural conditions.

I am also passionate about education. Through Teach for America, I was lucky enough to spend two years teaching Kindergarten and first grade on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. I learned so much, and became fascinated by how childrens' experiences shape their understanding of what they read and how they approach problem solving. I've helped, along with other teachers, to start an annual summer camp for elementary age students on the Rosebud Reservation (www.CampThunderbirdSD.org). Through the camp, we hope to  provide an avenue by which to expose students to new and varied experiences while instilling in them the self-confidence, team work and leadership skills that will help them attain their goals.

 

chambers