Rosy is a thriving student at Cornell University, majoring in plant science. We are proud to report that she achieved the dean’s list in four consecutive semesters and was recently admitted to Pi Alpha Xi, the national honor society for horticulture. Within Rosy’s plant science major, she’s concentrating on evolution and systematics with an independent study in botanical illustration.

Reflecting on how her New Roots experience prepared her to succeed at Cornell, Rosy says, “When I started college, I drew on the skills I gained from those experiences and discovered that they gave me an edge in Cornell’s difficult classes.”

In January of 2018, she traveled to Patagonia with a global plant biodiversity and vegetation class. They spent three weeks traversing Patagonian Argentina and Chile, stopping along the way to identify species, compile field notes, and take ecological transects. Rosy said, “It was a valuable opportunity to see and document vegetation patterns among some of the world’s most fascinating and extreme plant life.”

Since the summer of 2018, Rosy has been the undergraduate technician on a project exploring rice phenotypic and genetic diversity among the Saamaka people of Suriname. In August 2018, she spent three weeks conducting fieldwork on the upper Suriname River. Saamaka farmers, all of them women, grow an impressive array of upland rice varieties on small slash and burn plots. Rosy shared, “We cataloged over 50 different varieties, interviewed farmers and collected samples for export. Back in Ithaca, we are growing our collections in the greenhouse and conducting genetic analysis to determine the origins of, and relationships between, the different varieties. We will also work with Saamaka farmers to improve yields, preserve genetic diversity, and develop farming systems that replenish the soil and minimize deforestation. Needless to say, I am excited to be part of such an important project.”

At Cornell, she’s also been able to develop her passion for art thanks to the support of several professors in horticulture. “When I draw and paints plants, the process improves my ability to identify different species, understand taxonomic relationships, and appreciate the complexity of the botanical world. It also offers a welcome reprieve from computer work, exams, and essays.”

Check out Rosy’s art portfolio here: 

“In my spare time, I continue to play roller derby with the Ithaca SufferJets in addition to coaching our youth league, the Ithaca League of Junior Rollers. I also teach tree climbing for Cornell Outdoor Education and recently returned from a trip to California, where I spent two weeks climbing the giant sequoias.”