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Virginia van Vianen


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Michigan Technological University

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    Currently, I'm interested in a broad variety of plants! In summer 2015, I completed an independent research project studying the effects of nitrogen and insect herbivory on plant fitness, and the effects of nitrogen on herbivory in 4 native wildflower species. In summer 2016, I mapped the aquatic plants in a lake and studied the best way to manage for invasives and an active fishery.

  • Profile Question 1
    Can you describe your attitude toward science when you were in high school?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    When I was in high school, I loved science! However, my interests have changed since then. I participated in Science Olympiad, which made me see science in a new light. My success in the event Fossils led me to want to study Paleontology, though the event Ornithology made me interested in birdwatching. I also loved Forensics, probably because I watched a lot of detective shows! I read lots of science blogs and would often stump my teachers when I would ask them questions about the research I was learning about.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Many of my favorite plants are aquatic species! One of my favorite species is Duckweed- one of the smallest aquatic plant species. Each individual plant is no bigger than a pencil eraser. Duckweed is also a truly floating plant- it has short roots no greater than half an inch that dangle into the water. I love how unique Duckweed is- you can find it growing all over a lake, not just in the littoral zone.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I love how I'm always exploring and getting to learn new things! Field work is definitely one of my favorite parts of science- I got to spend a week this summer working on a kayak to find aquatic plants. I love getting to hike and look around to find elusive species. And I love doing planting and restoration work to know I'm helping to improve the environment. I also love what fantastic people scientists are- so many people that I've worked with have helped me substantially and go out of their way to do it on occasion.

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
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  • Availability
    I am NOT available, please temporarily remove me from the available mentor list

  • In addition to English, I am comfortable communicating with students in the following languages:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

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