What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?
After Bowdoin, I worked for a company in Boston called Indigo. I started as an intern, and then became a contracted employee. I worked to help isolate these endophytic microbes—microbes inside the plant from all sorts of different field crops—and we formulated seed coatings to try to help introduce symbiotic organisms into the growing fields for all of these different kinds of crops, like corn, wheat, rice, and soy. I did that for about a year, until I transitioned to the position that I had been working at for the past two years: I became an agricultural scientist for a hydroponic vertical farm called Bowery, based out of New Jersey. I did lots of new product development work for hydroponic vertical farming, as well as a lot of media substrate work. Now, I am a PhD student at University of California, Davis, studying horticulture and agronomy in the Department of Plant Sciences.
Biology is super cool—I love the sciences. I was always passionate about food and agriculture, as they're our most direct connection with the land, and I really wanted to be able to impact environmental issues by pursuing this field. I love the logic of it and how there's so much room for creativity and discovery—nothing's ever set in stone. We're always learning new things, so you're never stuck in one place. There's always more to discover and more to do, and it just can take you anywhere you want to go. It opens up a lot of different opportunities in almost any field you'd want to go into, and it's really nice to have a seat at the table and be in an industry you're passionate about, in a way that you can really impact what's going on.