Graduate program: Plant science
Academic history: Post-secondary education at Szent István University in Gödöllö, Hungary
Occupation: Full-time student
Q: You are from Hungary. Why did you choose to study at Missouri State?
A: My supervisor at home knew the Hungarian biology professor here, Dr. László Kovács, and knew Missouri State did a lot of plant research. We figured out it would be possible for my school to do a collaboration with Missouri State so I could get a master’s in plant science from Missouri State while working toward a Ph.D. at home — when I leave here I will only have one year left to study at home before earning a doctorate.
Q: You are working on your thesis now. What is your research about?
A: I am researching the interaction between grape plants and powdery mildew (a plant disease). If we can figure out how the mildew turns on genes in the plant, maybe we can find a way to make grape plants more disease-resistant. I started my research in 2008 on the Mountain Grove campus because grapes are grown on that campus and a lot of grape research takes place there. I work on the Springfield campus now as a graduate assistant in the biology department under Dr. Kovacs.
Q: What was it like to come to the Graduate College as an international student?
A: The International Student Services office helped me so much. They did a great job handling all of my paperwork, like visa papers. The faculty in the biology department also made it easy to adapt. You can see those teachers love their jobs. I have learned a lot here.
Q: How do you deal with occasional homesickness?
A: I like United States very much; I enjoy being here. The people are really friendly at Missouri State and I like my job and my research — I am curious to see the results and eager to complete my thesis. Those things keep me going when I do miss my family and fiancé. I talk to my parents all the time on email and Skype. My fiancé has come to visit me and might come back again if he can find time — he is finishing his own thesis at home in communications and public relations. My friends here keep me busy in the meantime; I have met a lot of people in my classes and in the lab. Our department is kind of like a team! We go out for food, watch movies and play sports. I love to ride bikes with one of my friends on the trails around town. Sometimes my friends and I play racquetball at Plaster Sports Complex on campus because it is free for students.
Q: What are the differences between your studies here and at home?
A: At home, we have more classes full of literature and theory and not as much hands-on work. Here, you work more specifically in your field and do a lot more in the laboratory. I even have lab mates who are undergraduate students but are working seriously on research projects.
Q: What is your ultimate career goal?
A: I would like to teach at a university in Hungary, and I would like to do more biotechnology research as well.