Mary A. Bancroft Memorial Scholarship
2011 Recipient: Jacob Olsen
- Graduate student
- Department of Biological Sciences
- Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS
Effects of precipitation and ecotype on the physiology and anatomy of big bluestem and sand bluestem
Personal Interest in Plants
As a young child I learned much about plants from my father as we hiked and camped in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Stinging nettle was the first plant I learned about. After brushing up against stinging nettle for my first time, my father showed me dock plant, which is used to calm the stinging sensation and is generally found near stinging nettle. As I entered college I was unsure of my career path and tried accounting and engineering, but quickly lost interest. I began to take a few biology classes and the sections on plants always piqued my interest. I then worked for a year in the Garrett Herbarium at the Utah Museum of Natural History. When I finally took a class on plant anatomy and physiology, I knew what I wanted to do, and for a semester after my class I was able to work in the plant physiology lab as an undergraduate. Now as a graduate student, I am researching the physiology of plants and their incredible abilities to adapt to changing conditions.