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From CAHNRS Coug to Cornell Graduate Student

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

It all started when Brennan Hyden visited the Washington State University campus in the summer of 2012 to conduct research in Dr. Amit Dhingra’s lab. Brennan, a senior studying Agricultural Biotechnology, developed a passion for research as a freshman here in CAHNRS.

Brennan sits at a table in a white lab coat and purple latex gloves holding a scalpel and tweezers. He is about to slice into some leaves in a petri dish.
Brennan Hyden slices into a sample during his work in WSU professor Amit Dhingra’s lab.

This experience in the lab compelled Brennan to attend WSU and continue his work.

“I was welcomed back into the same lab and have stayed there since. I have had a great time in Dr. Dhingra’s lab and have been given a lot of freedom to work independently on a diverse range of projects, which has really enhanced my educational experience,” he said.

Brennan will graduate this December and has been selected to carry the CAHNRS Gonfalon banner during Commencement, an honor given to outstanding seniors in CAHNRS each year. He has been an active member of the CAHNRS community for four years.

After graduation, Brennan will head to Ithaca, New York, to attend Cornell University, where he will continue to pursue his passion and work towards his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding.

“I am passionate about agriculture because it enables me to take my passion for plants and apply that passion to global issues like food quality, nutrition, and security,” he said.

As he prepares to say goodbye to WSU in December, Brennan reflects on the pride in being a CAHNRS Coug.

“CAHNRS has a wonderful community of professors and staff and has provided so much support in my studies, including scholarships, funding to travel to conferences, and study abroad,” hesaid.

Many CAHNRS students are passionate about their fields and research. Brennan shared a few tips for those interested in pursuing graduate school.

Brennan stands in front of his research poster, hanging from a board.
Brennan presents his research poster.

“My biggest advice would be to get some quality undergraduate research time in-preferably a full-time experience in the summer,” he said. “It looks great to graduate schools and it will also give you a better idea of whether research is right for you and, if so, what you might like to focus on in graduate school.”

Lucky for Cougs, there are many opportunities to work in various research labs across campus, particularly for those who are involved in our CAHNRS Ignite Undergraduate Research Program.

Brennan will certainly take his experiences from WSU and CAHNRS with him to Cornell and there is no doubt that he will excel in this next step of his professional career. CAHNRS is proud to support students like Brennan and wish him the best as he moves towards his next goal and contributes to the agricultural world through his work.