My name is Max Barnhart and I am currently a 4th year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia. For my dissertation research I study sunflower pollen and how the process of fertilization is affected by high temperatures. I also completed an M.S. in Biological Sciences from SUNY University at Buffalo where I studied the evolution of ancient ebolavirus-like viruses by searching for fossilized genetic material hidden in the DNA of these viruses mammalian hosts.
I got involved in science communication my first semester at UGA by joining the Athens Science Observer, which is a small graduate student run science blog aimed at training students how to better write about science for the public. What started out as a fun side project quickly turned into a passion and I eventually worked my way up to become Editor-in-Chief. I led an initiative to create, print, and distribute short science zines in Athens, GA supported by funding from the American Society of Plant Biology.
This summer for my fellowship I will be working at NPR in Washington, D.C. which is absolutely a dream come true! I can not express enough how grateful I am to AAAS and ASPB for sponsoring my fellowship. When I’m not at work, I’m either doing yoga, martial arts (I have a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do), or hanging out with my cats. Go Bills!