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UGS Student Explores Sustainability, Builds Greenhouse

After his summer research program was canceled due to COVID-19, School of Undergraduate Studies student Christopher Linares had to come up with another plan for conducting research. He decided to construct a greenhouse in his own backyard and plant high-demand crops. Linares was then able to change variables that can affect production and growth, and explore the role of climate change in a controlled environment.

The greenhouse

What influenced your summer project?
During the spring 2020 semester, I was enrolled in Marine Science 308: Humans and a Changing Ocean. It was a great class because it focused on global warming. The course sparked my interest in sustainability, climate change, and freshwater science. Building on this interest, I decided to focus my summer research on climate change and how it effects certain agricultural crops. I built a greenhouse in my backyard and planted crops: tomatoes, potatoes, grains, etc.

What was your favorite part about investigating sustainability and building a greenhouse?
It was fulfilling creating blueprints, setting up fencing, building the greenhouse, and watching my crops grow.

Did your project inform your major and/or career choice?
It did! Right now, I’m undeclared. I was leaning towards business, radio-television-film, or something in the sciences. The Summer Exploration Grant affirmed my love for the Earth and sustainability. As a part of the grant’s requirements, I met with a career counselor. She gave me examples of majors that I could look into and she suggested biology with a concentration in marine and freshwater sciences. I’m considering pursuing biology as my major or certificate. Another option I’m considering is sustainability studies.

What advice would you give to students thinking about exploring majors and careers over the summer?
Your project doesn’t have to be something specific towards your major, it can be something you are interested in. Your project can help you grow your knowledge, whether it is through an internship or volunteering. Take advantage of every opportunity you can. A simple hobby can change you as a person. For me, building a greenhouse and taking care of plants really sparked my passion for science.

About the Summer Exploration Grant

The School of Undergraduate Studies’ (UGS) Summer Exploration Grant gives UGS students the opportunity to explore their interests over summer break. Grants can be requested in any amount up to $2,000, and have helped undeclared students conduct research, take unpaid internships, enroll in professional development opportunities, and more. Whether you’re looking to participate in a research project or creative activity, the Summer Exploration Grant can help you fully realize your vision. Applications are open now and the deadline to apply is March 8, 2021.

Christopher Linares with his greenhouse