Undergraduate Researcher Earns Trip to National Conference
When he found out his undergraduate research qualified him for the the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Washington State University food science undergraduate Pablo Corredor submitted a poster in hopes of sharing his research on the Bartlett Pear.
Corredor’s poster was chosen to compete at the national conference and he earned a travel award to attend the conference from February 29 to March 3 in Washington, D.C.
An unexpected element of the experience was the personal growth and inspiration that came with the trip. “Thanks to this conference, I was able to make national and international connections with other students and professors,” Corredor said. “Personally, the most important part of this conference was the inspiration and motivation I gained to continue working on doing research in STEM.”
Corredor’s research project focused on establishing biotechnological tools and strategies for the long-term improvement of the European (Bartlett) pear. The pear market in the United States is economically stagnant and faces challenges to its long-term growth and stability. In hopes of confronting those challenges, Corredor is working on research for the deployment of micropropagation. Micropropagation involves growing plant cells in a tissue culturing medium to produce large numbers of disease free plants. He is using this process to develop some tools to improve biotechnological techniques.
Corredor’s research was done through WSU’s department of horticulture under the direction of associate professor and horticulture scientist Amit Dhingra. Dhingra is a genomicist who works to improve Washington fruit crops and also specializes in mentoring undergraduates in research projects. Corredor also worked closely with Christopher Handrickson who is a graduate research assistant in professor Dhingra’s lab, as well as Nathan Tarlyn, horticulture research intern.
Corredor was the only WSU student in attendance at the ERN conference, but he’d liked to have been one of many to have earned this opportunity. “As a student mentor, I have set a goal to bring as many students as possible from WSU to the ERN conference next year in Chicago,” Corredor said. “I would like to encourage anyone who is doing undergraduate or graduate research to apply to the annual ERN conference. This experience inspired me to continue working hard on my undergraduate research project and bring more people to participate in events like this. ”