Claim your curiosity.

Laura Phillips

Student Spotlight | May 2021

Major: Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (Double majoring in Classical Languages)

Describe your research/creative work in just a few sentences that we can all understand: I am looking to see how the health of soil impacts the growth rate of maize when undergoing drought. I used soil from both an agricultural field and the prairie to see if the soil impacts maize drought tolerance. 

Q: Who mentors your project?

A: ​Dr. Maggie Wagner


Q: What surprised you about doing a larger research or creative project?

A: I was surprised by the amount of problem-solving that I had to do. When working on a project that was being planned and led by a graduate student I never had to ponder how to resolve issues, but now I am learning about how to be resourceful in my research pursuits. 


Q: What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project? What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?

A: ​I was nervous about finding a project that I could do during COVID and that would still be impactful to my research career. However, I learned there are a lot of ways to do research in a variety of capacities - you just need to have an honest discussion about your ambitions and limitations to find what will work for you.


Q: What do you like most about your project?

A: I love watching the seedlings grow. It reminds me that life will always continue on.


Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?

A: ​Never be afraid to ask questions or send follow up emails when looking for a lab to work in. If you don't ask, you never know. And, most of the time, when you knock on a door someone will answer.


Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?

A: I do a lot of camping with my husky Avah and my roommate. They have been my saviors during lockdown when I cannot hike with all my friends!

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