Hometown: Romeoville, Illinois
Major: Biological Sciences, emphasis in Plant Pathology (master’s)
Anticipated Date of Graduation: December 2020
Why did you decide to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I participated in the Nebraska Summer Research Program in 2016 with Professor Roger Elmore in agronomy and horticulture. This internship allowed me to integrate agricultural knowledge into my strictly biological sciences background and my love for plants "bloomed." After maintaining a connection with the Department of Plant Pathology throughout my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to land a position here.
What is your favorite thing about University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I love that we make our own food here like at the UNL Dairy Store, Loeffel Meat Shoppe or the sweet corn fundraisers on East Campus. It is really neat to go there and know you are buying something that students have had an impact on and a great learning experience from.
How has diversity and inclusive excellence played a role in your CASNR experience?
The high percentage of international students and the high ratio of women to men in my department in graduate school fostered a great community and a valuable array of opinions. Serving as the president of the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association, I learned a lot of skills I otherwise would not have in a less-diverse environment. The most meaningful skills ranged from understanding what motivates people on a broad scale to how to be a supportive leader to individuals in all walks of life. But of course, this learning process is only the beginning!
What is your favorite class you have taken so far and why?
PLPT 891, the plant disease tour, taught by Professor Tamra Jackson-Ziems was my favorite class at UNL. We took a week during the summer to tour Eastern Nebraska farms, greenhouses, nurseries and even the plant research facilities at the zoo! This class was a great hands-on learning experience to understand and recognize plant pathogens in the wild and a great way to get to know the other students in the Department of Plant Pathology and neighboring departments.
What are your plans post-graduation?
I hope to obtain a job involving plant-microbe interactions in industry. There is a vastly growing field of research in Cannabis and hemp. I think it would be a fun and interesting opportunity to work with those hosts one day!
What’s life like outside of school?
Nowadays, I like to explore the bike trails around Lincoln and I have gotten back into various video games. In pre-pandemic times, I loved going to the gym, local concerts and taking car trips to the surrounding cities.
Natalie has received the following scholarships: the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association Professional Development Award, the Myrle. M. Burk Botany Memorial Award, the Walker Fellowship Fund for Graduate Students in Botany, the Botany Department Memorial Fund, the American Society for Virology Student Travel Award 2020 and the American Society for Virology Student Travel Award 2019.