Farm to Lab

“My heart is always at UNC.”

“My heart is always at UNC.”

Terri Long ’98, associate professor in molecular biology at North Carolina State University, credits her career path to her childhood home — a small farm in Louisburg, North Carolina. Her enjoyment of nature and outside play developed into a love for plants that would help shape her career.

During her second summer as a Morehead-Cain Scholar, Long considered field research before seeking a role in a laboratory environment.

“I found myself on the side of a mountain counting this rare plant species, and thought, ‘Maybe I’m not as outdoorsy as I thought I was.’” Terri laughed. “I still wanted to work with plants, but I thought maybe I should work in a lab instead.”

Today, Terri oversees a lab at N.C. State University, identifying genes that direct how a plant absorbs and uses nutrients. She said the most rewarding part of her work is the daily opportunity to mentor students one-on-one.

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