Plant Science & Landscape Architecture
Boonsboro High School
I have been fortunate to have had many great mentors, but two stand out: my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Peter O’Connor, and my plant science professor, Dr. Gary Coleman. Mr. O.C., as we called him, was the first teacher who believed in me as an individual. While his AP chemistry class was challenging, he was always willing to answer all of my questions. My classmates and I would often hang out in his classroom after school to ask questions and generally absorb his wisdom. He encouraged us to think critically and independently, and taught us simple, valuable skills that I now use on an almost-daily basis, such as making solutions, reading volume at the bottom of the meniscus, and mastering dimensional analysis. I took Professor Coleman’s plant propagation class sophomore year and was fascinated by the intersection of plant physiology, genetics, chemistry, and bioengineering. When I expressed interest in the subject, he welcomed me into his lab to work on some of his projects. I learned more from going to lab meetings and working in the tissue culture lab than I would have in a classroom. Prof. Coleman is also always willing to answer questions or give advice about the future, and he helped me find a career path. These two mentors have given me the skills and motivation to be successful in the future, and they also taught me to not take science, or myself, too seriously.