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!


Spotlight Search



 

 

Connect With Us
Research teaches critical thinking and problem solving — top skills sought by employers
KU is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research
More than 1,200 students have received Undergraduate Research Awards since 1986
KU's first valedictorian, Flora Richardson, conducted research as an undergraduate before graduating in 1873
Use research to apply what you learned in the classroom to a real problem
Students who perform research develop strong relationships with KU faculty
Research is a hands-on way to explore career options
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times