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Student Spotlight: Brianna Haynes

As part of our Summer Spotlight series, PHHI intern, Malak Hassanein, interviewed PHHI graduate students to share their stories. Brianna Haynes (BH) has been fulfilling coursework for her Master’s degree, splitting her week between Raleigh and Kannapolis. This summer, though, is a full immersion in the Postharvest Physiology Lab at the NC Research Campus.

PHHI: Tell me a bit about yourself.

BH: I grew up in China Grove, NC, and moved to Raleigh to attend NC State University where I earned a BS in Horticultural Science and a BS in Crop & Soil Science. I was the first in my family to attend a four year university. I am currently a first-year master’s student working under Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veazie and Dr. Gina Fernandez in the Horticultural Science Department. 

Fun Fact: Brianna first met Dr. Perkins-Veazie in 2017 while working on blueberries for her senior project at South Rowan High School, just a few miles from Kannapolis. 

Brianna Haynes

PHHI: What are you currently working on in the lab?

BH: I am currently working on a large-scale comparative study of North Carolina strawberry genotypes–there are more than 300. I am collecting data on a number of things including soluble solids, titratable acidity, pH, anthocyanin content and phytochemical profiles to name a few. 

PHHI: How did you become interested in this field of work?

BH: In high school, I was a part of FFA and took several animal agriculture classes. I ended up shifting my interest from animal science to plant science, after helping out in the school gardens and doing three projects on maximizing strawberry production through the organization. Watch this NC FFA video about Brianna’s early days of research.

PHHI: What is something you have learned about yourself or your field during your time at PHHI?

BH: My time at PHHI has helped me become more confident in conducting research, as well as taking initiative in the lab. My research encompasses lab work and field work, which never leaves me bored. I hope to continue my academic journey by earning my PhD, and possibly becoming a professor. 

PHHI: What are some of your hobbies and interests?

BH: I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and taking care of my greenhouse. While I have more than 100 plants now, my first plant holds a special place as my favorite. I call her, Sara the Monstera. 

Brianna and Sarah

Fun Fact: Brianna was a cheerleader in middle and high school; she loves cheering on Wolfpack athletics with friends.