A little bit about myself

Summer is currently a third-year PhD student in the Department of Plant Biology, supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and UGA Presidential fellowship. They are co-advised by Dr. Jim Leebens-Mack and Dr. Tati Russo-Tait.

Summer is from Covina, CA, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. During undergrad, Summer was mentored through numerous pipeline programs that aim to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities in STEM (Cal Poly's SEES program, NIH-RISE, CSU-LSAMP, the Leadership Alliance).After undergraduate, Summer was a research technician in the Grotewold Lab at Michigan State University as a part of the Success in Graduate Education (SiGuE) post-baccalaureate research program.

You can find Summer around Athens grabbing a morning roll at the local bakery, throwing pottery at the community ceramics studio, or working remotely at one of the many coffee shops in town.

My dissertation projects

  • Generating a haplotype-resolved genome assembly and annotation for Geranium maculatum

  • Using targeted bait capture to construct an updated phylogeny for the genus Geranium

  • Assessing the critical consciousness of Latinx girls interested in STEM


Throughout my undergraduate and graduate education, I have led and been involved with several organizations and efforts that center students of color in STEM. These include affinity spaces for queer students & students of color in STEM, targeted recruitment efforts, and bioinformatics training!

Grad school resources

There are several free, online resources for students learning how to navigate graduate school applications that I think are super valuable. These resources helped me a ton in my own process, hopefully, you might find them to be helpful too!