From Plant Press, Vol. 18, No. 2, April 2015.
Aleks Radosavljevic and Melinda Peters recently had the opportunity to host a winter intern, Yuejiao Shan. A high school senior from Maryland, Shan assisted with several special projects and learned basic museum collection management skills during her time here. Shan came to the herbarium through the Maryland Multicultural Youth Center (MMYC) program, an affiliate of the Silver Spring based Latin American Youth Center. The program’s mission is to place interns with mentors based on their academic and professional interests to help prepare them for life after graduation. Radosavljevic and Peters worked with intern coordinator Jessica Cordero to place Shan with them for six hours each week for eight weeks. Their mission was to provide Shan with an overview of the “how, why and what” of museum collections. She learned the basics of “how” to prepare and organize specimens, “why” the herbarium has a collection of dried plants, and “what” the herbarium staff does with them once they are in the collection.
Shan assisted in updating plant names based on annotations matched through TROPICOS, helped with specimen repair, and recorded specimen information that was needed in electronic form so that labels can be generated.
A requirement of the MMYC program is to design a poster and present it at an intern reception among her peers and staff. Shan’s poster was entitled, “The History of the Department of Botany.” Although Radosavljevic and Peters were not able to attend that evening, they know they did one thing right—according to Cordero, Shan said that they opened up her mind to the fact that she too can be a scientist if she wants to someday.