Testimonials for Pioneer Member Mary Lou Guerinot

Aaron Atkinson – With forgiving but firm guidance, Mary Lou built an atmosphere that was supportive, creative, confident and certainly productive. Her management style, tact, and work ethic is something that I look for in the people with whom I surround myself today.

Heather Benson – Mary Lou is a terrific person and was a wonderful graduate advisor. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from her.

Tomi Jun – Mary Lou gave me my first experience with molecular biology. I started out cleaning beakers and packing pipette tips in her lab as a freshman, and later graduated to helping with experiments and ultimately writing my honors thesis with her. She has been a patient and supportive mentor throughout the years. I had to take 2 years off from college to complete mandatory military service in Singapore. Upon returning to college she welcomed me back to the lab and even supported my working in the lab an extra year after graduation, giving me the time I needed to apply to medical school. My experiences with molecular biology in her lab were foundational to my growth and development as a clinician and researcher. While I now work on cancer genomics rather than plant biology, the principles of molecular biology and the scientific method that I learned from Mary Lou remain constant. To me, Mary Lou embodies the highest ideals of academia — a pioneering scientist, a dedicated educator, and an inspiring mentor.

Kristin LeVier – When I started graduate school in Mary Lou’s lab as a 22-year-old, I had a university degree, but was still a baby in so many ways. During the 5 years I spent working under Mary Lou I learned who I was and how to become an independent, thoughtful adult. Mary Lou modeled integrity, intelligence, humor and a strong work ethic every day — wonderful things for my young, developing self to see and emulate. I’ve rarely met anyone as forthright and honest with their opinions as Mary Lou, and it’s something I valued then and have valued and sought out ever since. I learned how to be a good writer and a good speaker under Mary Lou, two skills that I think benefit anyone, no matter what they do in life. Her free-flowing editing pen taught me more about how to write well than any class ever could have. Mary Lou allowed me to work independently, while guiding me in how to think through complicated science. I couldn’t have asked for a better PhD advisor. Mary Lou made a huge impact on my life and I’m forever grateful to her for the time and energy she put into helping me grow up and become a thinker, a scientist and an adult.

Gregory York – Mary Lou is a fantastic scientist and mentor. I had the pleasure of conducting an undergraduate thesis project in her lab in 1991-1992. Mary Lou is a generous advisor, letting undergraduate students work and learn independently in her lab, while always being willing to provide guidance and help solve problems as needed. She is also gifted at being able to communicate the many ways in which it can be a joy to practice science. Having Mary Lou as a mentor was great preparation for me for graduate school and my subsequent work in science and law. All of us have benefitted enormously from Mary Lou’s efforts. I am glad that her contributions are being recognized here