Name: Sean Ryan Peña
Hometown: Miami, FL
Institution: Florida International University (MMC campus)
Date of maturation: April 2015
Joined USDA FCCAgE program on February 2014
Skill set: Computer skills - Presentational skills - Organizational skills - Laboratory experience - Precision in pollinator capture Career Experience: Since December 2012, I have been a research lab assistant in the Ecology research lab assisting Beyte Barrios, a PhD candidate, with her research under the guidance of Dr. Suzanne Koptur. Current member of the eleventh cohort of the McNair Fellowship.
Description of career experience: Projects we have undertaken include examining herbivory damage on the leaves of the pineland golden trumpet (Angadenia berteroi) in the field, observing pollination syndromes of the flowers, performing hand pollinations on flowers cultivated in the FIU greenhouse, seed germination experiments and fragmentation experiments.
My perception of agriculture now: Before joining the program, my interactions with plants have primarily been in field sites. Since joining the program, however, I have begun working in the garden at FIU, taking care of the plants in addition to weeding. This experience, in addition to the pesticide colloquium I have been attending, have given me a new found appreciation for how we choose to care for plants.
How my career experience has broadened my employment opportunities: I have not been a member of the program for very long, therefore, I have had limited opportunities, thus far, to advance my career goals. I do, however, look forward to future colloquiums, symposiums, conferences, workshops, leading my own workshops and more to expand my knowledge of agriculture and to continue to hone my presentational skills. As for my prior research experience, this has afforded me the opportunity to join the FCCAgE program as well as become a member of the eleventh cohort of the McNair Fellowship.
My research and career goals: My first goal is to finish the Bachelor's degree in Biology by the Spring 2014 semester. Afterwards, I will be working on acquiring my PhD in Biology, specifically relating to pollination syndromes of different plants. With this knowledge, I hope to better educate others on the importance of plants and why they should be a top priority for everyone. Finally, I believe my future research can be used to better understand the importance of plant-animal interactions in order to figure out new ways to conserve these important communities.