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CAHNRS Department of Horticulture Genomics Lab

Undergraduate – Aaron White

photo of Aaron White with his research poster

Aaron White


Your name and what is/was your background (what is your major, why science, etc)?
My name is Aaron White. I chose to study science because it is such an interesting field with so much potential for positive change.

Why did you decide to join a research lab? How did the experience compare to what you had expected?
I joined a research lab because I have always felt that knowledge gained through practical application is the most lasting and beneficial type of knowledge. Things learned in the classroom are cemented in the research lab. I felt this sort of hands on experience was necessary to having a complete education.

What was cool, exciting or most interesting about your time in the lab?
Some of the experiments I worked on were flat out fascinating. I really felt like I was a part of some important work.

If there is something in particular you learned or discovered that you’d like to share with others, please take a moment to tell us about it.
I learned a lot about how a lab works, and how to carry out an experiment. The old saying, “Standing on the shoulders of giants” is very true. To carry that out you have to read a lot of papers, and push your brain to it’s limits. Experimental design is not really a wrong or right kind of thing, it is a process, it takes complete attention and focus.

If you would recommend conducting research in a science lab to others, what would you tell them to get them interested in the idea?
The best way to get a job in science after school, is to get a job in science during school. If you want to be a scientist, you have to be a scientist! Like a college athlete graduating to the pros, only much more practical.

We’d love to know what you’re up to, so please give us a brief description of where you are working or going to school now.
I am currently working for the J R Simplot company in Boise Idaho. I work for the plant sciences lab, doing potato transformations and maintaining tissue culture stocks. I have also begun working on a few projects of my own design.

Did the lab experience help you with your classes or your perspective about science? Did working in the lab help you with developing other skills like time management or communication?
The lab definitely helped me with classes by solidifying many of the concepts I was learning about in lectures through practical application. The lab experience also exposed me to a more practical side of science. I got the opportunity to attend professional events, as well as teach others about our research.

Was there anything in particular you would have liked us to do different to enhance your learning or interest from the time spent in the lab?
I think that teaching and mentoring is a learning process just like tissue culture or research techniques. The graduate students definitely grew as teachers and mentors the same way I grew as a scientist, but all roads have their bumps. I do think a monthly lab meeting mandatory for everyone, including undergrads, would be a positive thing, even if undergrads were not expected to contribute.

Do you feel better prepared for the workplace or future academic endeavors as a result of your time in the lab?
I definitely was better prepared for the work place and future endeavors as a direct result of my lab experience. I was able to secure an interview for my current job because of my experience doing tissue culture and working in a laboratory setting. Also, I was hired as a research scientist, and not just a product development scientist due to my experience with experimental design and technique.

Any other comments?
I am very thankful for the opportunities given to me by the Dhingra lab. I currently have a good job because of the experience I gained in the lab. I consider myself a member of the Dhingra lab family, and I am pretty proud of it.