Mary Ann Lila knew she loved plants when she worked in a greenhouse in her home state of Illinois. Starting at the University of Illinois with this passion, she took every plant science class she could find. When she found out that plants make chemicals that improve the health of plants and animals alike, she found her career path. She is now the director of an institute focused on the discovery and delivery of innovative plant-based solutions to advance human health.
Kat Walston just started an internship at the Brookhaven National Laboratory to study what box turtles do in the winter. She didn’t know she wanted to be a turtle wrangler when she grew up. That discovery was made at a summer camp focused on reptiles and amphibians called Slip Sliding Away hosted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Albert Rubin is a retired biological and agricultural engineer working to restore the soil—the living skin of planet Earth. As a boy, Dr. Rubin discovered that dried sludge made the orange trees in his neighborhood bloom and bear fruit. That science experiment led to a lifetime career in soil science. Although Dr. Rubin retired from the department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NCSU in 2004, that doesn’t mean he’s not working.
On August 15, 2013, the world heard a story of mistaken identities set right. A small team of scientists on a routine research task discovered something amiss in rarely seen, decades-old museum artifacts. They had a hunch that something wild lay hidden behind established ideas and old bones.
They followed their hunch to the Andean cloud forest: a mountainous region of dense canopy-rainforest cloaked in fog. After flying, driving and hiking old mule trails into this mysterious region, they found what they spent years searching for waiting amongst the misty leaves.