Written by Abigail Kamke
This January, I was selected to attend the 2020 Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. I and four other Kansas State University students were chosen by the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry for this honor. In the couple months prior to the event, I was able to finish extracting the microbial DNA of the Colby site, Andropogon gerardii root samples. With the aid of the K-State Integrated Genomics Facility, we were able to get quick DNA sequencing results. Finally, with help from my wonderful Lee Lab team, I was able to put together a detailed research poster to present.
On March 4th, I headed to the Capitol Building in Topeka, KS. We were directed to the beautiful 2nd floor of the Capitol Rotunda for setting up our posters. Pictures were taken with my fellow KSU students, and then certificates were awarded to the student presenters from each of the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) public four-year universities. After a short break to view the other students’ research posters, the poster session began. I was able to speak to lobbyists, senators, and house representatives involved in our Kansas legislature. Dan Kerschen, the senator from my home district whom I had sent a personal invitation to, went out of his way to meet with me and hear about my research. It was a very rewarding experience to present my research about a vital prairie grass facing the effects of climate change to our legislature. Without this grass, we would lose a main soil erosion combatant and a major livestock food source. It was wonderful to be given a chance to speak out about the necessary research the Lee Lab is undergoing to preserve our Kansas prairies.