Min Ya

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My name is Min Ya and I go by “Minya”. Currently I’m a third year graduate student at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Before graduate school, I have analyzed cell divisions in mosses in Japan, prepared transcriptome of kiwifruit in China, surveyed flower color polymorphism in France, and counted chromosomes of Ephedra in Germany. Although the subfields of biology varied among my past research projects, my study organisms were plants, because I have been in love with plants since I was very little. Now in the US, I’m using the beautiful Columbine flowers (Aquilegia) as a model system to explore how the termination of floral meristem is regulated at the molecular level so that variation in organ whorl numbers can be generated.

       As a member of BSA, I felt very grateful since the first day I joined BSA as a student; I have benefited greatly from all the resources provided by BSA and BSA as a community. So far I have been to two Botany conferences; I was a conference assistant and chaired the Developmental section for Botany 2017. Now, I would love to make my own contribution to the community and help it to move forward. My reasons for running for the Student Representative of BSA are very simple. Firstly, I want to be a “bridge” for students at various academic stages. Up to now, I have mentored a few undergraduate students and I have been a teaching fellow for two undergraduate classes at Harvard University (including Botany of Plants, a currently ongoing class). The experiences of helping students to become interested in science, research, and plants are very rewarding and inspiring, and I would like to provide the undergraduate students of the BSA community with various opportunities for active learning and conducting research, as well as presenting themselves. Meanwhile, as a graduate student, I understand the struggles that many other students have during graduate school, and I would like to make BSA an even better place for supporting graduate students’ research and career passions by having workshops and discussion among graduate students, and between graduate students and faculty members. Secondly, I believe my personal experiences will help me to communicate and connect well with all the non-US students of the BSA community. As an international student studying in the US, I have the experience of working and living in various countries and environments. I would like to particularly focus on how to overcome the difficulties of studying and living in a foreign environment, how to utilize the similarities and differences between cultures to enjoy life and research, and workshops for international students who seek to improve their writing and speaking skills. Last but not the least, I want to devote myself in curing “plant blindness”, and I would like to engage the BSA community not only with plant lovers, but also people who don’t consider themselves to be plant lovers. This can be carried out in different formats, including blogs, interviews, reports, posts on social media, and art exhibition. I want to help all students who want to share their discoveries, unexpected twists from research, fun facts and hidden secrets of their studied organisms, to the widest possible audience. In doing, so will not only give students the opportunity to share their excitements from studying plants, but also increase plant awareness in the general public and help to cultivate love and appreciation for all plants.