Over three decades ago, Professor Emeritus of Biology Thomas Glover spearheaded the relationship between the Colleges and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) that has since flourished and provided hundreds of students with invaluable research experience. To honor the instrumental role Glover played in this relationship throughout his professorship, a group of alums and professors established the Thomas J. Glover Endowed Research Fund on the Natural Sciences to continue providing opportunities for students to conduct research at the NYSAES.
“It was a great honor because the Experiment Station was a place that I tried to connect to the Colleges from the early days of my career and this was a chance to keep students learning,” says Glover. “It’s probably the nicest thing that could’ve happened to me since I retired. I really appreciate all of the people that contributed.”
Created in 2011 upon the occasion of Glover’s retirement, the fund was accessed for the first time this past summer to provide a research stipend to Kevin Moore ’15. Moore conducted research in the horticulture department on apple route stocks at the NYSAES under the guidance of Dr. Gennaro Fazio.
The NYSAES is a Cornell University facility located two miles from campus that gives students the opportunity to work in world-renowned facilities beside some of the top professors and researchers in the field. Glover served as the liaison between the Colleges and the NYSAES to facilitate the opportunities since he sent the first HWS students to the Ag station in 1980 until his retirement.
Hoping to provide more opportunities for students, like Moore, to conduct agricultural research at the NYSAES, a group of alums and professors collaborated to initiate the establishment of the summer research fund. Professor of Medicine and Cell Therapy and Hematologic Malignancies Specialist David Rizzieri ’87, a former student of Glover, initiated the foundation of the fund and worked closely with Professor of Biology Sigrid Carle and Director of Introductory Biology Laboratories Susan Cushman to implement the scholarship and raise funds.
“HWS is a place where we not only ‘learned to learn,’ but were also taught a culture of service from mentors such as Dr. Tom Glover and Dr. Joel Kerlan,” says Rizzieri.”Our group wanted to show in a very tangible way how much we respect and appreciate the faculty’s commitment to our futures.”
While a student at HWS, Rizzieri conducted research at the Ag station, and says that the combination of course work at HWS and involvement “investigating” real-world problems in the research lab “cemented” his plans to advance his education in the natural sciences and a graduate program. He currently is a practicing physician in hematology-oncology at Duke University Medical Center.
The relationship between the two institutions that Glover created has given hundreds of students, like Moore and Rizzieri, the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking agricultural research with global impacts on the agricultural community. Fazio says Moore worked on research that is “basically the foundation of research that has never been done in the world.” Moore is working on apple “micro propagation,” which involves taking a piece of plant material off the apples, and then growing it in tissue culture to eventually produce more copies of the same plant.
“It’s a huge honor,” says Moore of the opportunity to conduct research at the Ag Station. “Having the ability to broaden my horizons and learn a lot more about how biology is actually carried out in the real world has meant a lot and it’s a great opportunity.”
The opportunity to benefit from the “real-world” experiential learning aspect of conducting scientific research was one of the reasons Glover established the connection between the NYSAES and the College’s in the first place, and something he and those who established the Thomas Glover fund hope the beneficiaries of the fund take advantage of. Glover says it’s the opportunity for students to get out and “be an agricultural scientist” that gives them an advantage in deciding “what they want to do with their lives.”
Like Rizzieri, who has led a prestigious career in hematology, many of the HWS students who conducted research at the Ag Station applied the skills and knowledge garnered through the experience to their future education and careers.
“It isn’t much of a stretch to say I would not have achieved my academic goals to date without the foundation he helped me build, and I think many of us feel that way,” says Rizzieri. “Through this endowment, we can continue to support the current generation of professors in giving additional students further research opportunities and promoting their growth and development in the field.”
The photo above features Glover and Moore at the NYSAES this summer with Gennaro Fazio, Ph.D., a research geneticist and plant breeder with the Geneva Plant Genetic Resources Unit of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service.