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Tomato Research Project Inspires New Visions Student to Explore Plant Genetics at Cornell

Glenn Parker has always had an interest in genetics. So, when her teacher walked into class with a potted tomato plant and proposed a genetic research project, she was naturally intrigued.

“Usually, it’s human or animal genetics that I’m more interested in,” said Parker, a 17-year-old New Visions in Life Sciences & Applied Scientific Research Senior from Trumansburg High School. “I was never really a plant person and then, all of a sudden, I found myself practically living in the greenhouse.”

Parker presenting Research

Parker spent about six months collecting evidence and gathering data on the effects pot material has on tomato plant growth as part of her senior research project. The research was then presented to her classmates and members of the local scientific community at the New Visions in Life Sciences Research Symposium at TST BOCES on May 25.

“The wealth of data and findings that came out of my research is what really drew me towards plants,” said Parker. “The tomatoes are like my children now, and I’ve grown really attached.”

Students view research Parker joined the New Visions program at TST BOCES because she wanted a non-traditional, academically challenging senior year that would position her towards a career in biological science and research.

“This program has been such an incredible opportunity for me, and I want to thank my teacher, Ms. Kline, for always guiding me in the right direction and letting me find my way,” said Parker.

Parker with Ms. Kline

Parker has been accepted into Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences where she will major in biological sciences in the Fall.

“I am so excited to see where this new passion for plant genetics takes me,” said Parker. “I am definitely going to be keeping plants in my dorm room.”

TST BOCES also offers New Visions programs in Health and Medical Sciences and Engineering. Interested applicants can get more information on New Visions programs by visiting TSTBOCES.org.