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From Dollar Store to Microbiology: UMSL Student Gets His Dream Job

Kevin Cox

Kevin Cox, a UMSL junior majoring in biology, is prepping a Seteria plant for seed harvesting at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. As the plant dries, the bag captures the falling seeds. Cox works part time at the Danforth Center as a laboratory assistant. (Photo by August Jennewein)

A few months ago, Kevin Cox was working at a dollar store. Today he’s a laboratory assistant at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur, Mo. – the first big step of many toward a noble career.

“I see myself working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention running my own research lab, to rid the world of famine or find a cure for some disease,” said Cox, a junior biology major at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. “Microbiology is something I love doing and I want to do it for a long time.”

Cox started his part-time job Feb. 13 working in a lab studying Brachypodium distachyon. He proudly explained it’s a grass species related to cereal grains such as wheat, barley, oats, maize and rice. For now, he’s performing simple tasks such as harvesting and planting seeds to more complex tasks such as dissecting seeds to extract seed embryos.

“Nobody in the lab really has only one task,” he said. “Everybody does a little bit of everything, which is cool to me because it broadens my lab techniques.”


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Campus: UMSL
Key words: Agriculture, Science, St. Louis Campus, UM System,
County: St._louis