Researcher, Traveler, Undergrad

Fred Gouker (photo by Steve Williams)Fred Gouker believes his research experiences have helped him decide what he’s looking for in a career.

As an intern at Pioneer Seeds, Gouker helped develop techniques to make genetic super corn. “Half of my time was spent doing tissue culture work in the lab, growing plants in vitro, and the other half was spent outside in the field, performing thousands of pollinations,” he said.

Last year at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, he took classes in biology and the history of New Zealand. “I wanted to go someplace where agriculture was important, and New Zealand seemed like the perfect place,” he said.

Returning to Penn State, Gouker resumed his research at Mark Guiltinan’s lab, where he’s worked since a freshman, and took on a new project with Majid Foolad. Both projects explore the jatropha plant as a source for renewable energy.

Gouker just received a degree in horticulture with a minor in biology. This summer he’ll intern with Syngenta in Ames, Iowa, as a maize breeder before entering a doctoral program at Cornell.