CMB Student – Valerie Lindstrom

Valerie Lindstrom
Valerie Lindstrom

Tell a bit about your life before you joined CSU

Before joining CMB, I attended CSU for my B.S. in Equine Science and was very involved in community outreach through Equine Science Stewards. I enjoyed volunteering for programs like Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship and the National Western Stockshow where I was able to meet and help new people. I also worked for my current PhD advisor (Dr. Jessica Prenni) on hormone accumulation in various bovine tissues. It was messy but fun!

Tell us about your research project and what attracted you to your area of interest

I have always been very involved in agriculture and after joining Dr. Prenni’s Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory, I knew this was the type of research I wanted to continue doing! My current project involves understanding how the rhizosphere (part of the soil microbiome) interacts with and influences the health of agricultural crops. We focus on cover crops, which are a specific type of agricultural crop that is grown to benefit the soil microbiome and is not harvested for profit.

What do you do to relax when you’re not in the lab?

I love to mountain bike in the foothills, ride horses, ski at Winter Park, hike 14ners, do CrossFit, and hang out with my husband and animals!

What is your favorite thing about the CMB program/CSU/Fort Collins?

My favorite thing about CMB is the support that we as graduate students get. CMB values graduate student involvement, so I love that we are able to have sponsored graduate student events and be apart of recruitment. The CMB community is amazing!

What has surprised you about graduate school?

Graduate school challenges you to push past your comfort zone – I have surprised myself with how far I have come as a young scientist and I look forward to continued growth!

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge has been learning how to better balance coursework, research, and personal life. The first semester was definitely an adjustment, but ultimately I learned so much about new topics and about myself.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I plan to continue working in agriculture with an emphasis on conservation agriculture. I don’t currently have my sights set on anyone specific job, but whatever I do I hope to be able to incorporate teaching and mentoring.