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Journey to Nobility

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“What can I do with my summer?” Like a ghost scared of the light, this thought kept creeping out to peek into my mind then flee, startled away. As an agricultural biochemistry junior at Iowa State University, Summer 2015 would be my final summer before graduation. Options abounded left and right: staying at home working previous jobs, adventuring overseas again, or remaining in Peter’s lab at ISU.

The theme at ISU is “Adventure,” and the Cyclone call upon my life to advance toward new places weighed strongly upon these shoulders. And so began the gargantuan task of excavating worthwhile and relevant science internships from the mountain of applications before me. Hours were spent searching the World Wide Web, grazing through information sheets and reciting my qualifications. In the midst of this monotone mission, I glanced upon a poster hanging in the Molecular Biology Building depicting former Noble Summer Research Scholars in Plant Science working in the lab. It appeared these scholars solely focused on plant science, a particular fondness of mine. Having lived out my youthful years on an Iowan farm, it had only seemed proper for me to direct my scientific focus toward crops, which had earned my whole family its livelihood. I resolved to fill out yet another application to be dispatched to the Noble Research Institute.

Various chemicals and selective yeast media.

After the excavation and application to all the various internships began the even more trepid task of patiently waiting for a reply. Days, weeks and months ticked by as I ran through my humdrum of life. I continued my lab work at ISU, investigating the defensive molecules and proteins of rice. I worked diligently because I still hope to finish out my graduate work in this same lab over the next few years. Various replies from companies began trickling in, some offering interviews, others rejecting the application. Then arrived an email from the Noble Research Institute.

To be honest, I had almost forgotten about the Noble Research Institute amidst the rubble from all the applications. So when I received an offer from the Noble Research Institute to be part of the summer research scholarship program, I quickly refreshed my mind on the characteristics of the Noble Research Institute. When I again saw the dedication to plant science and education, I agreed to accept the offer.

I’m now looking forward to this coming summer in Ardmore with the Noble Research Institute. I can’t wait to unveil the mysteries of science with my fellow scholars and lab members.

Benjamin Brown is a 2015 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Plant Science who grew up on a farm in Story City, Iowa.