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Biology major Laura Klein serves as a technician at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Neil A. Harriman Herbarium, where she focuses on the growth of laboratory plants as well as her own personal growth, through the high-impact learning opportunities afforded by the Student Titan Employment Program (STEP).

Name: Laura Klein
Role: Herbarium technician
Department: Biology
: Biology
Minor: Theatre
Year: Senior
Hometown: Neenah, Wis.

What specific tasks do you do for your internship?
“I mount and file specimen; receive, prepare and return loan specimen; and assist in research.”

How will the internship benefit your education

“I receive daily hands-on training with many unique species and typical taxonomy work, and I also gain exposure to the technical language of systematics.”

How will the internship benefit your future?

“Training in herbarium management will no doubt be some part of my work after graduate school, which I am applying for now.”

How is your internship a benefit to your department?

“Many of the department botanists, students and community members have used herbarium specimen to aid in their research. It’s important to keep the collection organized so it is more accessible to a variety of people.”

What has been your favorite part of the internship? Why?

“All aspects of working in the herbarium.  As my familiarity and comfort grow in the herbarium, so does my knowledge of taxonomy.”

Have you faced any challenges?

“Occasionally, there are discrepancies between the family a specimen is listed under versus how they are actually filed in the collection. Tackling this problem is partly becoming familiar with older family names or just asking Dr. Lammers or Dr. Harriman.”

The Student Titan Employment Program (STEP) offers students quality educational experiences while providing faculty and staff members with needed assistance in areas such as media services, student-faculty research, supplemental instruction, library assistance, instructional technology and academic computing support, and Web page development and maintenance. The program is funded through a one-time investment of $500,000. More than 110 students are funded through STEP.

Photo by See Xiong.