WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Horticulture

Undergrad Researcher Earns Trip to National Conference

When he found out his undergraduate research qualified him for the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), WSU food science undergraduate Pablo Corredor submitted a poster in hopes of sharing his research on the Bartlett pear. His hopes were exceeded when the poster was not only chosen to compete at the national conference, but he also earned a travel award to attend the conference from February 29 to March 3 in Washington, DC.

Pablo Corredor

Pablo Corredor taking in the tourist sites in D.C. while attending the ERN Conference

Corredor’s poster was chosen to compete at the national conference and he earned a travel award to attend the conference in Washington, D.C.

An unexpected element of the experience was the personal growth and inspiration that came with the trip. “Thanks to this conference, I was able to make national and international connections with other students and professors,” Corredor said. “Personally, the most important part of this conference was the inspiration and motivation I gained to continue working on doing research in STEM.”

Corredor’s research project focused on establishing biotechnological tools and strategies for the long-term improvement of the European (Bartlett) pear. The pear market in the United States is economically stagnant and faces challenges to its long-term growth and stability. Corredor’s work on deployment of micropropagation aims to confront those challenges. Micropropagation involves growing plant cells in a tissue culturing medium to produce large numbers of disease-free plants. He is using this process to develop tools to improve biotechnological techniques.

Corredor’s research was done through WSU’s Department of Horticulture under the direction of Associate Professor and horticulture scientist Amit Dhingra.  Dhingra is a genomicist who works to improve Washington fruit crops. Corredor also worked closely with Christopher Handrickson, who is a graduate research assistant in Dhingra’s lab, as well as Nathan Tarlyn, horticultural biotechnology manager. Because he was the only WSU student in attendance at the 2013 ERN conference, Corredor set a goal to bring as many students as possible from WSU to next year’s meeting in Chicago. “I would like to encourage anyone who is doing undergraduate or graduate research to apply to the annual ERN conference. This experience inspired me to continue working hard on my undergraduate research project and bring more people to participate in events like this.”

–Angela Lenssen, CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications

This article originally appeared in On Solid Ground.

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