Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBIO)
University of Colorado, Boulder
Twitter Handle @chelsea_pretz
Chelsea's general research interest is in the genus Physalis, which comprises the tomatillos, goldenberries, and groundcherries. She has worked on the nomenclature and typifications of the United States Physalis species. Currently she working with P. acutifolia (sharp-leaf groundcherry) to better understand the intraspecific breakdown of the gametophytic self-incompatibility system. She hopes that understanding gene flow on a species level will be a small step in understanding the evolutionary history of the genus.
How Chelsea got interested in the botanical sciences:
Plants piqued Chelsea’s interest in high school and, with the help of her wonderful mentor, she started a garden. During her undergrad, she was exposed to the botanical field of research and started exploring it as a career route. As an undergrad, Chelsea participated in a couple of different REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) programs – one focusing on ecology and the other on plant pathogens. She was soon drawn to the massive field that is Botany with a special interest in evolution.
Chelsea’s advice for those just starting their botanical journey:
“No path is the same. There is value in trying something and learning you don’t like it. People are nicer than you think! Make sure you ask questions, get advice, and ask who else you should be talking to. If you don’t hear back from someone, reach out to someone else. While research can seem all-consuming, make sure to find time for your hobbies and loved ones.”
Chelsea is passionate about connecting people with resources. Over the last couple of years, she has served on many committees that allow her to help her colleagues and friends in the field. She was a BSA Student Representative, departmental student representative, PlantingSceince liaison, and a co-founder of SOL Seminar Online. In her personal life, Chelsea loves traveling and learning about history through cooking different dishes. She enjoys gardening, and loves watching adult animation (Bob’s Burgers, Bless the Harts, and The Simpsons).
Click here to return to BSA Spotlight Series homepage.