Steph Smith is a junior Microbiology major at Miami University. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, she is a returning member of the Oedipodinae Project. During Steph’s freshman year, she fell in love with lab work; she did undergraduate research through her Bacteriophage classes, and was a TA in a class that involved bioinformatics. Steph decided to join Tereza Jezkova’s research lab after seeing an advertisement for the lab, looking for project heads for bioinformatics and wet lab work. After learning she would be working with genomics and grasshoppers, the lab seemed like fate; Steph has always wanted to be an entomologist .
During Steph’s first semester as a member of this lab, she worked on gathering FASTA files that contained known sequences of Oedipodinae, and compiled a list of sequences that were not available. She also compiled a list of places where certain Oedipodinae specimen, that were wanted for the project, reside. After this, Steph did some background research on the correct methods for sequencing grasshoppers she had in lab, and attained a list of primers. Finally, she did the first round of extractions, and ran gels to confirm the PCR results. This semester, Steph is working on the experiments, but she is also figuring out which reactions her team can do for DNA sequencing, while learning how to use the program Sequencher.
Steph wants to pursue a PhD, but for now, her plans for the future are open. She would like to continue working in research and possibly be involved in academia, as she has always enjoyed teaching. (She was a TA in high school for dual enrollment courses, and she worked at an elementary school). Steph would love to continue working on genetics and stay in her lab, which is where she feels most at home!