Melanie Schori (PhD 2010) has accepted a position at the United States Department of Agriculture. She is working as a botanist with the National Germplasm Research Laboratory, which is part of the Agricultural Research Service. Schori works to help sustain a subset of that service, called the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), researching and organizing all scientific names in the database, keeping them up-to-date and consulting researchers to verify information on plants with economic importance. The public can access GRIN through a website that is a tremendous resource for many people internationally. It can be used to purchase specific seeds for research and provides standardized names for important crop plants.
Schori is working with John Wiersema, who has worked on this system for 30 years and will be retiring in 2018. Together they are responsible for all the names and accompanying literature citations in the GRIN database. Currently, she is learning from Wierema so that the consistency of the plant classification in the database can be maintained.
“I never thought I would end up focusing on nomenclature,” Schori said. “I thought I would be a professor and that nomenclature would be an occasional side project. I’m very glad that I have this position at the USDA. Figuring out the right name is like solving a giant puzzle, and even though it’s challenging to learn a new software system and apply nomenclatural rules that I haven’t used before, I love my job and I work with a great team of people.”