Photo by Matt D’Annunzio

Lauren Carley ’12

biology

Hometown: Closter, New Jersey

Who I was when I got to Reed: I was a shy and awkward suburban girl interested in biology.

How Reed changed me: I have a million more questions than I came in with and feel more confident in my identity and more directed in my goals.

Influential book: In a way the Presocratics in Hum 110 are the beginning of science because all these different philosophers were the foundation of different scientific fields of thought.

Favorite spot: The greenhouse is a little oasis for me. There is rarely anyone else up there so I can sing to my plants without embarrassment, and it’s bright and warm when Portland is raining.

Random thoughts: One of the great skills that students at Reed acquire is coming up with a hypothesis. Being given the liberty to ask your own questions is scary; you don’t really know where to start. But we’re required to take a wide breadth of courses and, depending on what your own interests are, you start to put pieces together from all these different fields, and questions and hypotheses emerge.

Cool stuff I did: Studied ecology in Costa Rica for a semester. Worked as a house adviser. Tutored intro bio. Gave admission tours. Was a TA for a genetics class. Getting to work closely with students, faculty, and staff was extremely rewarding and added much-needed balance to my academic life.

Scholarships, awards, financial aid: Pearl Konttas Memorial Biology Scholarship. 

Adviser: David Dalton  [biology 1987–]

Thesis: Enhancing Stress Tolerance: Ascorbate Peroxidase Overexpression in Poplar

What it’s about: Determining the role of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), an antioxidant-associated enzyme, in the ability of poplars to tolerate environmental stress.

What it’s really about: Figuring out how to improve plants of ecological and agricultural importance.

What’s next: I plan to hike the Appalachian Trail, get a PhD in plant biology or ecology, and have my own lab someday.