The HF&G’s Research, Community Forestry and Conservation teams are excited about the arrival of the 2021 cohort of interns. This year, HF&G is leveraging resources and opportunities across departments and campuses to allow our interns to gain the finest in knowledge, experience, and skills for future career success. To achieve this goal, the HR department provides HF&G uniforms and “welcome” swag bags, and organizes safety training and multiple opportunities for professional development and field trips. The Research, Community Forestry and Conservation teams organize additional weekly workshops of professional development led by Dr. Na Wei, Dr. Sarah Carrino-Kyker, Dr. Katie Stuble, Dr. Juliana Medeiros, and Becah Troutman. These workshops include topics such as “Career interview”, “How to read a journal article”, “How to advertise yourself for career success”, “How to promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”, and “How to use collaboration as a key to success”. In addition, HF&G and other partners of the BioScience Alliance (BioAlliance; https://sites.google.com/case.edu/bioscience-alliance/about-us) are providing reciprocal fun tours to interns at the Holden Arboretum, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Case Western Reserve University Farm, and Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The 11 interns of Research, Community Forestry and Conservation are diverse in their backgrounds and research interests. Let’s hear about their stories.
“I recently graduated from Cleveland State University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a double minor in mathematics and statistics. After taking on a few different research projects at CSU and Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory, I became interested in studying aquatic ecosystems, specifically harmful algal blooms. This summer at Holden, I am primarily studying the spread and effects of beech leaf disease (BLD), which is thought to be caused by the nematode Litylenchus crenatae mccannii. In Dr. David Burke’s lab, I will assist in taking samples from infected trees and using DNA analysis to test for the presence of the nematode. This project also involves a study on the effects of BLD on mycorrhizae.”
“I just graduated in May from University of North Carolina Asheville. I’m from Cleveland originally and moved back for this internship. I’m working in the Community Forestry Department this summer, collaborating on their projects as well as the Conservation team’s. One project I’ll be working on with Jessica Miller is to develop the Northeast Small Woodland Landowners’ Management Manual.”
“I am a rising senior majoring in genetics and ecology at the University of Georgia. My general research interests are how genetics and genomics can be used to study and manage populations of invasive or endangered species. While working with Dr. Na Wei in the Research Department this summer, I will be studying competition between diploid and polyploid plants, and the effects of nanoparticle exposure on these competitive interactions.”
“I just graduated from Cleveland State University with a BA in Environmental Studies from the College of Urban Affairs and BA in Promotional Communications from the College of Communications. I also graduated with a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I love advocating for, researching, and promoting ways communities can become more environmentally sustainable. I will be working with Community Forestry this summer focusing on the Tree Corps Job Training program.”
“I’m a recent graduate from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. I’m interested in how nature and human society interact with each other and how changes in societal behavior might improve this relationship. I’m currently working with Dr. Katie Stuble gathering data in the working woods that’s looking at how different forest management practices affect forest health.”
“I am an upcoming junior majoring in environmental and field biology at Ohio Northern University. At ONU, I am a teaching assistant for intro biology labs and I do independent research on the effects of iron slag phosphorus mitigation on the microbial communities of isopods. At Holden, I am working in Dr. David Burke’s lab with Dr. Sarah Kyker on soil ecology. I will be working on an ongoing project to find simple restoration efforts that can be taken to mitigate the legacy of agricultural land use. For this project, I am doing a seed bank study in the greenhouse, and measuring the growth of native wildflowers in the field.”
“I am a first-year graduate student at Cleveland State University studying Environmental Biology. My research interests include ecology and biology with a focus on forestry and conservation. This summer I am excited to be working with Dr. Katie Stuble in community ecology and the rest of the Holden crew as a Research Intern at the Holden Arboretum.”
“I will be a senior at Baldwin Wallace University. I am a biology major with an interest in botany and plant physiology. I am working with Dr. Randy Long in Dr. Juliana Medeiros’ lab on conifer physiology at Holden. This project will look at many different conifer species across many different arboreta. I’m excited to be a part of this project!”
“I am a Conservation Intern at the Holden Arboretum. I am currently taking summer classes to finish up my undergraduate program in Environmental Science at Cleveland State University. My research interests include invasive plant ecology and horticulture. This summer, my project with Becah Troutman is based on Holden’s management of Alliaria petiolata in the natural areas. I will be using the data collected over the past decade by Holden staff and volunteers to assess and review the impactfulness of the management.”
“I am a rising senior at John Carroll University majoring in biology with minors in mathematics and Spanish. I have conducted microscopy research on new species of cyanobacteria, and I was a teaching assistant for general biology labs. This summer I will be working on a drought experiment with Sharon Danielson in Dr. Juliana Medeiros’ plant physiology lab. I look forward to getting more research experience and narrowing down my career goals.”
“I am a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago majoring in environmental science. I am interested in plant conservation and environmental restoration. At Holden, I am working with Connor Ryan, the Rhododendron collections manager at the Madison Leach campus. My summer project is to determine the most effective growth hormones and application methods to create strong root systems for Rhododendron stem cuttings. I’m excited to be part of Holden’s team!”
Na Wei, PhD
My research program seeks to elucidate the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that confer or constrain plant adaptation to environmental change. By leveraging the rich collections of wild apples (or crabapples) and the natural populations of wild strawberries at Holden, our lab addresses eco-evolutionary adaptation through the lenses of ecology, genomics, and microbiome. Currently, we are working on: (1) harnessing microbiome for disease resistance and stress tolerance; (2) examining the perks of genome size in a rapidly changing world; 3) investigating the emerging threats of nanoparticles to the evolution of plant–microbiome interactions; (4) exploring plant–pollinator interactions and their roles in microbiome assembly. To address these questions, we are using interdisciplinary approaches by integrating functional ecology, community ecology, microbial ecology, population genomics, phylogenomics, and quantitative genetics.