Calvin sophomore Kelly Edwards found an unusual way to spend her summer: researching an invasive species called the autumn olive.
She and biology professor David Dornbos worked together in one of 100 such student-faculty partnerships this past summer. Both Edwards and Dornbos received $3,000 from the Undergraduate Research Grants for the Environment.
Edwards, a biology and Spanish major, was stationed at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute (Mich.) biological field station, where she and Dornbos worked to determine just what it is that makes the autumn olive so invasive.
The shrub, native to eastern Asia and brought to North America for ornamental use in the 1800s, is aggressively colonizing large areas of both woodland and meadow at the institute and throughout Michigan, running roughshod over the native species.
A pre-med student with her eye on the mission field, Edwards eventually hopes to do AIDS research, although she also finds the plant world fascinating.
“I’m more interested in botany than I thought I would be,” she said of her summer research. “This project just seemed right.”
That’s the response Calvin students have to their many opportunities to work side by side with Calvin professors. Through the Campaign for Calvin, many more students will have such opportunities in the future.
Kelley Edwards '09
Biology and Spanish Major
Professor of Biology