Viewing the Future Through a Microscope


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A nervous and excited Carlie Witte hears a loud thud behind her as her dormitory door slams shut. She makes her way to the walking path, beginning the journey to her first college class. The sun feels warm on her face as she approaches the plant and soil sciences building. At that moment, Witte did not know that she was beginning her future in crop development.

“Hopefully, what I develop will have a bigger purpose”

Witte, the daughter of a farmer, is currently a senior plant and soil science major at Texas Tech University. Witte has always had a passion for agriculture, especially crop genetics improvement. Her time at Texas Tech has only strengthened that passion. 

 “When I started my plant and soil sciences classes, it clicked,” Witte said. 

Witte is a huge advocate for genetically modified organisms. Witte said without GMOs, the family farms will diminish and be replaced by factory farms. Witte wants to change the public outlook on GMOs because the consumers drive the market. 

“If people do not accept GMOs, then all products will end up being factory farm produced,” Witte said. “This is super sad because it is an American thing to have families produce consumer products.”

Along with her passion for science, Witte has a warm and bubbly personality that makes people feel welcome. She plans to use her character and her science background to be the bridge from the science laboratories to the consumers. Right now, Witte says, there is considerable miscommunication between the scientists and the consumers.

Carlie Witte grows and studdies plant tissue for her internship with Venugopal Mendu, Ph.D.

Payton Harrell is a senior at Texas Tech University and is a close friend to Witte.

“The fact that Carlie is so intelligent and is able to use her great personality to communicate her knowledge and skills is so neat to see,” said Harrell.

 Witte is currently furthering her education in cellular biosynthesis by interning with Venugopal Mendu, Ph.D. at Texas Tech. At her internship, Witte extracts DNA and conducts polymerase chain reaction analysis to compare the make-up of plants. After graduation, Witte plans to apply for a master’s degree in biotechnology for crop improvement at Texas Tech University.

“Hopefully, what I develop will have a bigger purpose,” Witte said.