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Impact on Education

The Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) believes it’s crucial to have an informed and engaged public. Thus, outreach and education is a primary institute directive, with efforts to make plant science accessible for all audiences and to inspire and support new plant scientists.

Poster present,story,for web

BTI summer interns present posters and research talks after weeks of research mentored by BTI and USDA scientists.

BTI hosts professional development programs linking high school science teachers and students with BTI researchers in collaborative research projects. “We design these programs to be mutually beneficial,” says Tiffany Fleming, Director of Education and Outreach at BTI. The institute also fosters research and educational experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and community members, along with summer internships for area high school students.

BTI prepares graduate students for multiple career paths through an initiative known as “T-training.” “Over the last ten years, the situation for graduate students has become more challenging,” says President David Stern, who developed the project. “Five out of six students don’t end up running a lab–they enter a different profession.” The T-training teaches grad students skills such as networking, tech transfer, and communication skills that can facilitate smoother transitions into nonacademic career paths.

T-training is just one part of a larger plant science directive known as the Decadal Vision, a report drawn up by Stern and other plant science thought-leaders that prioritizes key goals for the field. In addition to T-training, these goals include improving the knowledge and applications of plant genomes and plant-derived chemicals, and the ability to find answers in a torrent of data. “The goal is to raise awareness and create a pathway to implement these ideas,” says Stern.

Boyce Thompson Speaks

Jay Worley, host of Boyce Thompson Speaks podcast, and Postdoctoral Scientist in the Martin Lab

Jay Worley, host of Boyce Thompson Speaks podcast, and Postdoctoral Scientist in the Martin Lab

In a new podcast series, we speak with BTI scientists to learn more about the plants and the people behind the institute’s innovative scientific research.

In our first episode of Boyce Thompson Speaks, listen as Dr. Jay Worley interviews Dr. Suzy Strickler and Lindsay Wyatt, graduate student in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University, about their project to sequence all the RNA in the acorn squash, to see what they can discover about this popular and delicious food.