Let’s catch up with 2012 Student Scholar Kiona Elliott!
What are you up to these days?
Currently, I am a PhD Candidate in the Plant Microbial Biosciences program at Washington University in St. Louis. My passion has always been in food security and enhancing our ability to sustainably feed our world. This mission has led me to study plant-microbe interactions in the crop cassava and the factors that cause plants to get sick. My ultimate goal is to use this information to learn how we can reduce plant vulnerability to diseases that decrease crop productivity. Outside of research, I also spend my time binge listening to podcasts and participating in a ton of virtual game nights with friends and family.
Where are you finding joy and brightness?
Lately, I’ve been finding joy in exploring local city and state parks. Now that the weather is warming up again in St. Louis, it has been great to safely get some fresh air and enjoy a good walk.
What was the last book, podcast, article, art piece – or anything else – that made you think differently about the world?
Something that recently made me think differently about the world was the podcast series called Nice White Parents by Serial Productions and the New York Times -which I binged of course. It is a five-part series hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt that dives into the public school system in both a historic and modern context. It also discusses how race in particular has influenced and shaped the American school system. It made me reflect on my K-12 educational experience and think deeply about how to improve school systems to better support students of all backgrounds. I would highly recommend listening to it!
Have you taken up any new hobbies or perspectives during the last year?
A new hobby I’ve taken up recently has been painting! I’m no Kehinde Wiley, but it has been a ton of fun and a nice way to relax.