Research experience as an undergrad in Buell lab - Minjee Kim

  • Jyothi Kumar

Minjee Kim, who worked in one of the Plant Biology labs shares her research experience in the Buell lab. Read on: 

Minjee Kim

Expectations about lab research: When I first started working with Miranda Haus in Robin Buell’s research group, I mainly wanted to experience what it was like to work in a lab environment. I had not really thought about getting published or working on an independent project. I wanted to explore different career options (other than medicine) and since I had come back from a service trip to Haiti, I had developed an interest in food security and food distribution. 

As an independent Researcher: It was Miranda who taught me a lot about research and how to do science. I have become a better scientist because of her. I helped her with data collection to gain familiarity with different projects. I was excited to work on an independent project based on Koch's postulates which led to co-authorship on a publication. This gave me confidence and motivated me to start an independent project the following school year. The findings from the root architecture and seed nutrition project, where I found what levels of different mineral nutrition in seeds correlated the most with different root phenotype, eventually led to external funding for Miranda. When I found out that the project was funded, I realized that the research I did matters and gave me a huge boost in confidence. It was neat to see how my efforts paid off and how my research was interesting enough to get funded.

Skills developed: The projects in Buell lab gave me lots of skills that will help me in my future career - creating an experimental design, drawing up a budget, collecting data, analyzing my data, writing reports and giving presentations on my findings. It also helped me to understand what it is like working independently but keeping my communication with my team members and supervisors clear which I believe is a very valuable skill to have in my future careers.

Future plans: My time working in the Buell lab will definitely help me in my job in the research field and it was truly a pleasure to work in the plant biology department at MSU. Since I have graduated I have been taking time off to travel and be with my family and have recently started to look for a full-time job as a research associate.