Intern Anniversary Series: Grace Yu
2011 and 2012 intern in the labs of Jeff Doyle and Susan McCouch, respectively, while studying at Fullerton College.
Now: Yu is working as a laboratory research assistant at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University in Boston and has plans to attend graduate school, either in botany or microscopy.
Who was your mentor and how did the person shape your experience at BTI?
For my first summer at BTI, my mentor was Sue Sherman-Broyles of the Doyle lab. During the time I spent with her, she had helped me to realize my strength in writing, my patience for repetitive work and my ability to be a self-motivated individual. My second summer at BTI was spent with Samuel Crowell of the McCouch lab, a graduate student at the time. Sam really taught me how to have fun in the lab. With Sam and Dr. McCouch, I really felt like I belonged in the world of plant biology. Working on Sam’s graduate student project with him, I discovered a whole new way of looking at plants that suited my personality and interests, solidifying my love for botany.
Can you share any fond memories, learning experiences or challenges from your time at BTI?
Upon first stepping onto the Cornell campus, I hardly knew what I was in for. As it turned out, it was 10 intense weeks of work hard, play hard. I was pushed out of my comfort zone, having been given the opportunity to live apart from home for the first time in my life. Days were spent taking on the challenges and creative processes of research life. Nights were spent realizing the responsibilities and realities that came with adolescent freedom. I dealt with heartbreak and watched my roommate suffer from homesickness within the first few weeks, but by the end of the summer, I could say that I was proud of myself for the first time in my life as a legal adult. I had written a project proposal, given a 15-minute presentation on stage with a room full of people listening intently and had found the courage to make friends and fall in love with the little town of Ithaca I now consider a second home of sorts.
More information on the Plant Genome Research Program summer internship and its history is available here.