Student Research in Full Bloom: BTI’s 2018 PGRP Interns

by | Jun 19, 2018

Group photo of the 2018 BTI summer undergraduate interns

The 2018 interns are from all over the United States, from California to Puerto Rico!

This June, more than thirty of the country’s brightest students arrived at the Boyce Thompson Institute from all over the United States to experience the life of a researcher.

BTI’s 2018 Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) interns have made it to Ithaca and are motivated to pack in as much exploring and engaging and as they can over their ten-week journey (seven for high school interns).

Throughout their summer, the students will be immersed in the life of a BTI scientist: reading current research, writing proposals, testing hypotheses, and presenting their results in the form of a poster or a presentation at a public symposium.

Since collaboration is a key aspect of modern science, each intern will be partnered with a mentor in their respective research lab. Together, mentor and mentee will create an independent project that best utilizes the student’s curiosity and drive while also contributing to the lab’s research goals. This project will be each intern’s focus throughout their summer.

For many of the students, this is their first immersive research experience. Learning the fundamentals of lab life from their mentors will be a crucial experience to kickstart their research career.

When they aren’t working on their projects, interns will attend weekly seminars by BTI researchers, take a five-week-long Bioinformatics course, and engage with graduate students, communication professionals, and faculty at workshops. Throughout the summer, they will have a chance to explore Ithaca and take group trips to Niagara Falls and New York City.

For the first year ever, the PGRP interns have a science communicator amongst them. This intern adds to the ever-diversifying program, which now includes students researching in traditional, “wet” biology labs and in “dry” plant bioinformatics labs and a student communicating BTI’s science across multiple platforms, such as social media, podcasts, videos, news articles, and press releases.

The program will culminate in the annual Student Research Symposium that is open to the public on August 9th from 9am-4pm at BTI in Ithaca, NY.

BTI would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their generous support of this year’s internship program: Carolyn W. Sampson, the Ithaca Garden Club, the Triad Foundation, Robert and Roberta Kohut, the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, Rheonix Inc., the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and website for more updates on their summer!

Interns: Who They Are

BTI is proud to welcome the following undergraduate and high school student interns:



Evelyn Abraham Winthrop University Biology Pineros
Akriti Bhattarai University of Connecticut Biological Sciences Gore
Blyssalyn Bieber Misericordia University Biology McArt
Benjamin Carter California State University, Monterey Bay Molecular Biology Martin
Thomas Chan Tufts University Computer Science & Biology Mueller
Samantha Clark Lock Haven University Biology Harrison
Keeley Collins Elon University Biochemistry Fei
Marazzano Colón Duke University Biology Li
Savanah Dale Clemson University Plant and Environmental Sciences: Agricultural Biotechnology Giovannoni
Joshua Derrick Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computational Biology & Creative Writing Pawlowski
Joseph Dyson Wells College Biochemistry + Molecular Biology & Environmental Science Rose
Emmanuel Gonzalez   Pacific Lutheran University Biology Giovannoni
Autumn Hurd Doane University Biology Bogdanove
Kyle Keating SUNY Cobleskill Plant Science/ Horticulture Van Eck
Alexander Kehl San Joaquin Delta College Plant Biology & Pharmaceutical Chemistry Bentolila
Elena Lazarus University of Portland Biochemistry Moghe
Celine Manigbas Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Computer Science Mueller
Christopher Neely Rio Hondo Community College Biology & Computer Science Fei
Serena Stern Cornell University Communication, Environment, Science & Health Hannon
Zorimar Vilella University of Puerto Rico Microbiology Raguso
Allyson Weir California State University, Fullerton Biological Science (Molecular Biology and Biotechnology) Catala
Halle Welch University of Maryland, Baltimore County Chemical Engineering Roeder
April Wendling University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability & Geography Information Science Van Wijk
Raffee Wright Brown University Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Pawlowski

High School Students

Katrina Jander, Ithaca High School; Carolyn Jessop, Romulus Central School; Hayle Ackerman, Ithaca High School; Zachary Bradshaw, Hingham High School; Alice Hu, Ithaca High School; Matthew Larson, Union-Endicott High School; Elena Suarez, Academy of the Holy Names; Valerie Chen, Ithaca High School.


Group photo of the 2018 BTI summer high school interns

The high school interns are ready to go!

Subscribe to BTI's LabNotes Newsletter!



Boyce Thompson Institute
533 Tower Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853

Copyright © 2023 | Boyce Thompson Institute | All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy