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December 2021 grad: Persephone Valentine explored science writing and research opportunities

Persephone Valentine conducting research at campus’ new Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery building. Photo courtesy of Jordan Nehls.

Persephone Valentine is originally from Minneapolis but grew up all around the world. She will be graduating early with a double-major in life sciences communication and Chinese. In this Q&A, Valentine talks about why she chose her majors and her communication and research experiences through the Food Research Institute and the Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery program.

Q:Where did you grow up?
A:
I am originally from Minneapolis, but grew up in India, Germany, England, and Thailand between the ages of 4 and 16.

Q: How did you decide on your majors?
A:
I am graduating with a double major in Life Sciences Communication (LSC) and Chinese. I chose LSC because it aligned best with my interest in learning science and with my interest in exploring how science can be communicated in a way that is more accessible and approachable to the public. I choose Chinese as my other major because I have always loved studying languages. Chinese was something I started learning in high school and wanted to continue through college because it was so unique compared to other languages I have taken before. I just really enjoy it and it’s very useful.

Q: What were the most meaningful college experiences you had?
A: 
Some of my most meaningful college experiences have come from learning from professors and TAs in the LSC program and the Asian Languages and Cultures program. Plus learning from the mentors I’ve had through my research and work with the Food Research Institute (FRI) and the Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery (MSABD) program.

Q: When you think about your time here as a student, what are you proud of?
A: 
As a student, I am most proud of finding two majors that I truly enjoyed taking and for finding my footing as an undergrad. LSC led me to many amazing opportunities including writing for the FRI, conducting my own independent summer research project with FRI in the new MSABD building, and assisting meat and dairy sciences graduate students with their research.

Q: What are your future academic / career plans?
A: 
My current plans after graduation are to apply to be a special student to complete prerequisites and start applying for graduate schools to get a master’s in microbiology or bacteriology.

Q: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with CALS students?
A: 
If I had to give some advice for CALS students, I would say it is never too late to find what interests you – even if you are already a junior or senior. Don’t be too scared to put yourself out there and explore potential academic and career paths.