My undergraduate research project itself was based on the viability of quinoa as an alternative grain crop for the Pacific Northwest, and the implications on soil health and productivity. I analyzed root samples for the presence of arbuscular mycorrhizae under a microscope, measured out samples for combustion testing on a microbalance, ran potassium chloride extractions on different samples, and took samples in the field test plots.
The Ignite program was one of the most beneficial aspects of my first year at WSU. Not only did it provide me with in depth, applicable research experience, but it has given me confidence to learn completely new procedures and ask questions when I get stuck. It has given me the confidence to talk with my mentor and other professors that were helping with the research, a skill I can translate to my future career.
Building a Community
Moving to Washington from California was a huge shift, but my internship connected me with people and gave me a community right away. My mentor, John Reganold, was both the project advisor and my Organic Agriculture program advisor, and he has helped me immensely with finding opportunities to further my education base, from scholarships to funded trips to industry conferences.
Connecting Classrooms to Careers
My favorite part of this internship was experientially learning all the information about my project, and then learning about it in class. It allowed me to relate coursework with something I was actually testing and using. The opportunity to gain paid undergraduate research experience through CAHNRS was extremely valuable to my freshman year and whole college career.