Julianna Kurpis ‘16, an environmental science major with a concentration in biology, has spent the last six months studying hydroponic growth systems in the lab of professor James Shinkle. Through Trinity University’s Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (ALE) program, Kurpis has combined her scientific knowledge with practical business skills.
|Kurpis' research helps to benefit a local nonprofit.|
“It was a mixing of science and business. I worked primarily with plants, but I appreciated the opportunity to meet with customers and make deliveries.”
|Kurpis was able to raise the antioxidant levels of kale, making it a more valuable crop.|
Transitioning her research into the fall, Kurpis continues to work with hydroponic systems. Her research this semester focuses on Arabidopsis plants. Working with a plant missing photoreceptor UVR8, Kurpis studies how plants with and without the mutation respond to ultraviolet light.
“Most studies have shown that this receptor is important for plants to absorb UV, but our research is suggesting that it might not be as important as we previously thought. There are other photoreceptors required for plants to absorb UV. We continue to find the same result that indicates existing published research doesn’t tell the whole story.”
|Kurpis is a senior graduating in May.|
“Mitch [Hagney’s] company is the only one like this in San Antonio and there is growing market for hydroponic farming in our area. Now that I have some experience with both the planting and business side, it’s something I might explore after graduation.”
Kurpis is originally from New York, New York.
Learn more about the ALE program here. Visit our Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success to find the many ways students are expanding their education beyond the classroom.