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Reflections on an undergraduate research experience: How I was hooked.
W. WELDON (1). (1) Cornell University, Geneva, NY, U.S.A.

I was once a freshman Pre-med and Chemistry major at Butler University.  With a BS in Biology, I am now headed for a PhD in Plant Pathology.  Clearly, something hooked me into this obscure field.  It began with a job at Butler, where I worked in a lab focused on a fungal plant pathogen.  Thus, I was aware of the field’s existence when I applied for a summer internship at Cornell, but I was not yet thinking of plant pathology as a career.  That all changed during the internship, not just for me, but for many of my fellow interns.  I learned of the program through an e-mail sent to our Biology department, and was directed via an internet search to the application website.  “Google” was the means by which most of my peers found internships. My  internship integrated field and laboratory research, and a graduate level field course in plant pathology.  It opened my eyes to the importance of plant pathology to agriculture and the world.  It also revealed an opportunity for one person to make an immediate and positive impact.  Interactions with growers through the field course connected the research to implementation. It was as important as the research, and was the major hook for me and many of my peers.  The internship was also my first real opportunity to see graduate student life from the inside, and made me confident that I’d made the right choice in applying to a graduate program in plant pathology.

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