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McNair Feature Scholar: Meet Madilyn!

Madilyn Vetter, Cohort 21
Madilyn Vetter, Cohort 21

My name is Madilyn Vetter, and I’m starting my senior year as an Environmental and Ecological Biology Major with a certificate in American Sign Language at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. I come from the tiny town of Endeavor, Wisconsin, but I’ve moved to the “big city” for college, and I hope to go bigger for grad school! During the summer I’m part of the research team led by Dr. Nora Mitchell, and I’m starting my own research project as well. This is my first field research, and I’m very lucky I can try it out!  

My research is focusing on species interactions between herbivorous insects and sunflowers, and phenotypic plasticity expressed in the plants from insect damage. Defenses against predators are an important adaptation and sunflower species have several adaptations to help them better deter insect herbivores. In plants especially, there is potential for phenotypic plasticity to be a factor in differences in plant morphology. By examining individuals in greenhouse, common garden, and wild populations, we will be able to compare growth in both controlled environments and naturally growing populations. I hope to continue researching species interactions and phenotypic plasticity, especially in plants, in graduate school. After I graduate from UW Eau Claire, I hope to jump right into a PhD program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Outside of research I love going hiking, finding lucky clovers, watching movies, and baking!