Ag Biotech Day opens doors to UK research


By Kaite Pratt | University of Kentucky Agricultural Communications Specialist/Writer

Lexington, Ky. — Researchers in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment invited prospective students to the university recently as part of UK Ag Biotech Day.

The day was created by a team of UK scientists to help show the students and their parents the types of ongoing studies and lab interests at the university and to dispel some myths about biotechnology in agriculture.

“Hopefully, our event let students see what biotechnology is by meeting some UK scientists. I think people are surprised to learn about the diversity of different applications and tools geared at improving people’s lives,” said Ellen Crocker, a postdoctoral scholar in the UK Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and one of the event organizers.  The other event organizers were Paul Vincelli, Lou Hirsch, Carol Hanley and Esther Edwards.

Student groups toured seven UK labs, many of which were affiliated with the college’s agricultural and medical biotechnology undergraduate degree program.  Labs ranged from forest health to entomology to soil microbiology. Many of the labs offered hands-on activities for students.

It’s an opportunity that Sharyn Perry, UK associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, wishes she had growing up. Perry was one of the researchers that donated her time and lab resources for the event.

“I was always signing up for the science camps and they were always getting canceled,” she said. “I like working with these groups. I like their enthusiasm and their excitement.”

Ashley Burns is a senior animal sciences major at Western Kentucky University. She came to the day because she’s exploring graduate school options.

 “I found it interesting because it showed different topics and other programs besides just food agriculture, like forestry and other natural resources conservation efforts,” she said.


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