TPSS PhD student Emily Teng is featured in an article in the magazine Greenhouse Management that showcases the qualities that led her to be honored with last year’s Ka Hana Po‘okela student service award.
The story describes how Emily juggles her time and tasks working as the grower at Pang’s Nursery in Kahalu‘u while completing her PhD in horticulture. A lot has to do with working remotely: Emily and her employer communicate through a shareable file that includes notes on the plants and the work done on them.
Both her responsibilities are important to Emily and her future career—she began working at Pang’s in 2007, after earning her MS, but returned for her doctorate in 2013 to gain more theoretical and research-based knowledge. Her doctoral research is in how light and temperature affect pigmentation in poinsettia bracts.
At the same time, she has continued to work part time at Pang’s throughout her schooling. She says, “Working at the nursery keeps me in the loop and in tune with real life outside of school. I don’t want to lose touch with growing.” She also wants to make sure that her research takes into account professional growers’ needs, wants, and time and financial constraints, not just the controlled conditions in a lab. After graduation she’s going to do research and product development for a large plant breeder, working on just that.
The article also discusses Emily’s work in TPSS, from mentoring younger students and advising the Horticulture Society on growing for the annual poinsettia sale to helping to put together the recent Plant Sciences symposium. It’s a worthy snapshot of a student who does good work in the lab, in her department, and in the industry.