Peer Mentor: Raha Kannan
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Virginia Weis
I grew up in West Linn, Oregon but have spent the majority of summers in Hawaii, where most of my family lives. I chose to come to Oregon State and major in Biology because science has always been my favorite subject and OSU has many strong STEM programs. During my undergraduate research, I hope to study dinoflagellate-cnidarian symbiosis, focusing on how algae enter and populate host cells. I also hope to study the coordination of cell division between host and algal cells. These mechanisms are important because they are crucial to dinoflagellate development and insight about them may help us learn more about how and why corals are bleaching. Though I was born and raised on the mainland, I feel a strong connection to Hawaii. Experiences I had serving with the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps this summer helped me find my cultural roots and really opened my eyes to the unique environmental issues there. I would love to have a job as a biologist in the Islands someday, but regardless of where I may work in the future, I know that I wish to conduct conservation related research; helping the environment is where I would most like to make a difference in the world. The things that I appreciate most about OSU are the friendly atmosphere and the sense of community, despite being such a large school. I am also grateful for all the opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of while attending OSU (like participating in undergraduate research!) that may not have been available if I had chosen to study somewhere else.