BTI Welcomes Summer Student Interns

by | Jun 8, 2022

A group photo of 41 undergraduate interns during orientation outside of BTI, with a tree in the background.

BTI’s 2022 undergraduate interns have traveled from universities all over the U.S. Image credit: BTI.

On May 31, Boyce Thompson Institute welcomed 41 of the country’s brightest undergraduate students from universities around the country to experience the life of a researcher for 10 weeks. Ten more research interns from local area high schools will join the Institute for six weeks beginning June 28, and about 14 high schoolers will join BTI for seven weeks as part of the Workforce Advantage (WFA) program.

Now in its 22nd year, BTI’s Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) focuses on training and inspiring the next generation of scientists to help feed a growing population, while protecting the environment and enhancing human health.

Throughout the summer, student researchers will gain valuable research skills in BTI and Cornell University labs, attend seminars and workshops to learn from leaders in plant science research, bioinformatics, science communications and technology transfer.

Because collaboration is a key aspect of modern science, every intern will be partnered with a mentor in their respective research lab. Together, each mentor will lead the mentee in creating 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 during the program, culminating with a poster or a presentation at a scientific symposium.

Five of the REU students will be in labs that are part of the new Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems (CROPPS), which aims to integrate plant sciences, engineering and computer science to improve crops and the sustainability of agricultural management practices.

For many of the students, this is their first immersive research experience outside their university. Learning the fundamentals of lab life from their mentors and developing their professional networks will be a crucial experience to kickstart their research careers.

When research interns aren’t working on their projects, they will attend weekly seminars by BTI and Cornell faculty, participate in a five-week Bioinformatics course, and engage with faculty, graduate students, and communications and scientific professionals. Throughout the summer, they will have a chance to explore Ithaca and take group trips to Niagara Falls and Corning Museum of Glass.

The summer research internship programs will culminate in the annual George and Helen Kohut Summer Research Symposium on Thursday, August 4, from 9am-4:30pm at BTI. The symposium will be livestreamed for the public.

A group shot of 10 high school interns standing in front of a brick background

BTI’s 2022 high school research interns

WFA interns are paired with mentors to gain hands-on experience working in a world-class research institute while exploring the departments that make scientific discoveries possible, such as administration, finance, technology transfer, communications, development, information technology, facilities, computational biology and plant biotechnology.

A collage of 16 high school intern headshots

BTI Workforce Advantage Interns

This year’s internship programs are made possible thanks to the generous support of Carolyn W. Sampson, Tompkins Trust Company, Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, Rheonix, Inc., John Ben Snow Foundation, Triad Foundation, National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program, United States Department of Agriculture, and many other generous individuals.

Stay tuned to our website and social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok) for more updates throughout the summer!


Interns: Who They Are

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

Undergraduate Students


Name Institution Faculty/Lab
Tori Adigun Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University Scott McArt/Dyce Lab
Trey Ansani* University of Arizona Abraham Strooke and Georg Jander
Caroline Artymowicz The College of New Jersey Georg Jander
Daniel Bacher Oregon State University Maureen Hanson
Iselle Barrios MIT Adrienne Roeder
Jasmin Buffenn Huntington University Jim Giovannoni
Adam Cason Samford University Zhangjun Fei
Lauren Carneal Clemson University Greg Martin
Maddie Ceminsky St Olaf College David Stern
Alexis Chun Loyola Marymount University Maria Harrison
Sherlyn Contreras Ball State University Stephane Bentolila
Collin DeMan William Paterson University Li Li
Alexis Garbarczyk University of Arizona Jian Hua
Regan Griffin Centenary College of Louisiana Andrew Nelson
Joanna Idrovo Amherst College Eric Richards
Megan Johnston University of Kentucky Klaas Van Wijk
Joe Ku University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Aleksandra Skirycz
Anna Lipari Grinnell College Fay-Wei Li
Olive LoGrasso Colorado State University BTI Computational Biology Center
Kaitlin Marry New Mexico State University Clare Casteel
Isabella Marshall* Rowan University Jenny Kao-Kniffin & Amit Lal
Hanifah Muhammad Arizona State University Scott McArt
Holly Myers Washington College Katja Andrea Poveda
Yalmarie Numan Vazquez University of Puerto Rico Recinto Rio Piedras Campus Magdalena Julkowska
Eliza O’Donnell* St. Lawrence University Bruce Lewenstein
Anamaría Páez Capador Universidad de los Andes Georg Jander
Kobe Phillips University of South Florida Jennifer Thaler
Marge Poma Alarcon Smith College Olena Vatamaniuk
Charis Qi Davidson College Zhangjun Fei
Umer Sha The College of New Jersey Georg Jander
Maddie Shaklee University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Zhangjun Fei
Mali Simmons Centenary College of Louisiana Andrew Nelson
Jenna Sins Gannon University Fey-Wei Li
Amick Sollenberger* Brown University Michael Gore and Robert Shepard
Harsha Somaya Colby College Michael Gore
Victoria Swiler Ohio University Joyce Van Eck
Angely Toro Casiano University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus Andre Kessler
Kylie Weis Auburn University Margaret Frank
JJ Wheeler Tufts University Wojtek Pawlowski
Sam Young Amherst College Miguel Pineros
David Zimmerman* University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Margaret Frank


High School Research Interns

Benjamin Beer Ithaca High School
Ella Blomfield-Brown Dryden High School
Ting Fei Ithaca High School
Anna Fulbright Ithaca High School
Avni Gokarn Lexington High School
Palzom Lhamo Ithaca High School
Noor Maghaydah Lansing High School
Ariel Maroney Trumansburg High School
Lily Yang Ithaca High School
Stephen Yang Ithaca High School


Workforce Advantage Interns

Ayla Khosropour Human Resources
Lucas Darling Mechanical
Sabina Jenkins-Ortolano LS/Procurement
Kaidi Hu Schroder
Rachel Tay BCBC
Abigail Sill Operations
Linnaea Kelly Research Administration
Valerie Wansink Comms/CPBR
LeAnn Zhu Advancement
Andrew Tomak IT
Anya Packard Presidents Office
Lazim Jarif Alliance for Science
Evan James Communications
Sophie Wei Nelson Lab
Alicia Long Greenhouse
Ethan Yan BCBC

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