Following graduation from St. Kate's in December 2015, I took a one-way flight to Orlando, Florida to start a Professional Internship at EPCOT (yes, that's one of the parks at Walt Disney World!) in their biotechnology lab. My Fixation on Ice research experience, including the knowledge I gained as well as the inspiration, creativity, and problem-solving skills, has helped me succeed in this position! Responsibility was cultivated very early on in my research at St. Kate's, but also continuously developed and deepened as my work progressed throughout the project. Today, I alone run the Disney sector of the biotechnology lab. I have responsibility for nearly 1,000 plant-tissue cultures. Self-motivation and individuality have also been key attributes that have helped me to achieve record breaking plant-tissue sales and to develop innovative biotechnological procedures in our lab. Self-motivation and the ability to set both individual and group goals, which I derived from my Fixation on Ice experience, have allowed me to advance the efficiency of the laboratory practices here at Disney.
What is my favorite part of this position? I love the lab work, which involves tissue-culture propagation of a variety of plants. I work alongside USDA scientists and get to learn about and participate in their plant pathogenesis research, which is very exciting. I think my absolute favorite part of this position is its focus on scientific communication. I have the opportunity to talk about science and biotechnology with our guests each and every day. Thousands of visitors take our Living with the Land boat ride through the greenhouses and labs. The tours I guide are so fulfilling. Guests are absolutely amazed and inspired to learn about innovative and sustainable agricultural practices that can help feed families, communities, nations - and feed our world.
What's next? I recently accepted a position in the Professional Program in Biotechnology Master's Degree program at Texas A&M University. I will be beginning this journey in the fall and I can hardly wait! My focus will be in agricultural biotechnology with an emphasis in business.