WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Adrienne Gorny’s favorite plant is a
sick plant. That’s because she is passionate about plant pathology, the study of
Gorny, a senior studying plant science from Canton, Mich.,
has spent her undergraduate career at Purdue University learning about plant
diseases and how to treat them.
She shared her experiences, including insights on her
research and plans for the future, with AgriNews :
Q: Why did you decide to go to
A: When I decided I wanted to go into plant sciences, I did
a lot of research on a lot of different schools. I found that Purdue had an
excellent reputation. When I visited, I fell in love with campus.
Q: Have you always loved
A: I have. I’ve always loved gardening and being outside. I
knew that whatever career I’d end up with I wanted to be able to do field
Q: Has the Botany Department been
a good place to grow?
A: Yes. We are a small department. Everyone is really close.
Everyone knows each other’s names. It really feels like home.
Q: What’s your favorite
A: My personal favorites are dahlias, just because they are
so colorful and have big blooms. But really my favorite kind of plant is a sick
plant because I’m really interested in plant pathology, which is the study of
diseases. Every plant can get multiple diseases, so there is a lot to
Q: What diseases do you
A: I’m interested in diseases of agronomic — vegetable and
fruit — crops. Things we eat. We can’t afford to have these plants getting sick
or else we won’t have any food to eat.
At the lab I work in here at Purdue, we use corn as a model
organism to study how the diseases progress and what genes are involved with
resistance and how the genes change under certain conditions. That’s mainly what
we’re looking at.
Q: Where do you do
A: We do summer field research — that’s usually May through
August. In the off season we are always working in the lab. There’s a lot of
samples to process.
Q: How has your journey at Purdue
been so far?
A: I’ve loved it. I couldn’t have asked for a better
Q: What are you doing after you
A: I’m going to Cornell University to do graduate work, and
I’ll be studying plant pathology of vegetable crops. After that I really want to
do teaching and research. I want to investigate plant diseases and share what
I’ve found through teaching, especially Extension work.
Q: What clubs are you involved
A: I’m involved with the Botany Club and Billiards Club. The
Botany Club is a lot of fun because it’s a group of students who are really
interested in plants, and you don’t have to be a plant science major to be in
the club. We have engineers and math majors. We do plant-themed activities and
just went to the Chicago Botanical Garden to see the Orchid Show. It was so
I really like playing pool because it’s a relaxing activity
for me. I’ve met a lot of great people outside the College of Agriculture that
way. We host tournaments and travel to schools around the area who are hosting
tournaments. It’s a lot of fun.
Q: Do you do research during the
A: Yes. It really teaches you time management to take
classes and do research at the same time.