Last week North Harford High School’s agricultural magnet program came and visited University of Maryland’s Plant Science Department. In an effort to familiarize the students with The Plant Science Department, and teach them about the scientific research process, they asked for two graduate students to speak to them about their research and the research process. I immediately volunteered, as I am a North Harford alumna! I was uneasy about how to present my research because I wasn’t sure of their knowledge about cover crops and allelochemicals, but the students seemed very interested and asked questions about my research at the end! Not only was it good practice speaking in front of an audience, which I was very nervous about, but it was also good practice for conveying my data as a new graduate student.
Coming from a small farming community in Northern Maryland, I also felt it was important to talk to the students to show them that studying agriculture at UMD can improve farming methods and make farming more sustainable; something they could take back to their own farms. The students admitted to feeling overwhelmed by the big city atmosphere of College Park, but I thought it would be reassuring to the students to see someone from their hometown at UMD. Overall, it was a great experience reaching out to high school students about research and the Plant Science Department, and it gave me good practice on how to present my data.
- Briana Otta
Dr. Kate Tully
Kate is an Assistant Professor of Agroecology at the University of Maryland.