After studying plants at Harvard this summer, a student recalls the racial justice series that brought them to Pitzer and looks ahead to studying abroad in Southern Africa.
Pitzer senior 特奥·库珀24岁 has completed not just one but two fellowships funded by the 国家科学基金会 (NSF). 2022年夏天, they worked in a UC Berkeley biogeochemical lab and studied soil carbon sequestration. 今年夏天, they joined The 领导 Alliance and Harvard University’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.
NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program funds 学生 like Cooper for research at renowned universities. Under Harvard Professor Elena Kramer, Cooper explored plant morphology using the flower 耧斗菜被称为耧斗菜. Cooper learned about DNA and genetics through making primers, 聚合酶链反应, 病毒诱导的基因沉默, 原位杂交. They plan to continue the research long distance.
“I wanted a lab experience this summer that would give me exposure to genetics,库珀说。. “It’s exactly what I wanted to do: examine how and why plants adapt.”
和其他REU学生一起, Cooper also visited the Harvard Botanical Museum’s glass flower collection, which they had learned about in a research project for a Pitzer mycology class.
除了植物, Cooper is interested in combatting environmental racism and leveraging science to balance people and nature. Cooper was an environmental science major before transferring to Pitzer College and majoring in biology.
They were intimidated by organic chemistry and calculus before, 而是因为他们到达了推荐十大正规网赌网站, Cooper had enough confidence to tackle science outside their comfort zone. Cooper blossomed during the intensive science coursework—which was as thrilling as it was challenging.
Cooper was first drawn to Pitzer while watching the “True Equity” series that highlighted faculty of color and President Emeritus Melvin L. Oliver, who was the College’s first Black president.
“这真是令人鼓舞, even though Pitzer and the 5Cs don’t have a huge Black student population,库珀说。. “很少有学校这样做。, but I hoped that what I saw in ‘True Equity’ combined with a California location would mean a school where I could focus on learning and not be held back. 我很高兴我能搬到推荐十大正规网赌网站来.”
Cooper had Black professors for the first time at Pitzer and found “a family and a social life” at the Black Student Union. They also discovered a bonus benefit by living in the Claremont Collegiate Apartments, which are located next to the California Botanic Garden.
这学期, Cooper will live thousands of miles away from Claremont as a participant in Pitzer in Southern Africa, a multi-country comparative studies program in Botswana and South Africa. 在Pitzer-run项目期间, 学生学习如何说塞茨瓦纳语, 住在寄宿家庭, and engage in both countries’ histories and cultures.
When asked what excites them most about the program, Cooper said: “First is the chance to live and learn in a place where my skin color doesn’t put me on the margins. I’ve also had limited opportunities to travel for financial reasons, so just getting out and experiencing what’s beyond the USA is exciting—values, 食物, 音乐, 国家公园.”
Cooper also looks forward to different coursework that emphasizes writing. Pitzer in Southern Africa includes an independent study project through which Cooper plans to explore more science or focus on social services. Cooper will return to campus this spring to finish senior year.