Aliyah Brewer '24 Earns Magnusen Scholarship for Summer Scientific Research Field Period® Project

The rising junior will conduct research into the prevention of a deadly disease that attacks apple trees.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

There’s an agricultural battle going on in western New York and Keuka College’s Aliyah Brewer ’24 is on the front lines.

The biology major is making it her mission this summer to help apple trees defend themselves against a deadly disease called fire blight.

Thanks to the College’s Magnusen Scholarship for Summer Scientific Research Field Period® Experiences, Aliyah is taking part in Cornell AgriTech’s Summer Scholars Research Program, “Fighting an Old Battle with Modern Weapons: Can We Defeat Fire Blight with Next-Gen Genomics?” The initiative aims to develop genetic enhancement of fire-blight resistance in apple trees.

“I am extremely excited to immerse myself in authentic laboratory and field research this summer,” said Aliyah, who will serve as a Student Summer Researcher conducting research on the effects of fire blight. “This experience will be crucial in my admission to graduate school, advance my scientific knowledge, serve as a formative milestone, and build my character.”

Aliyah, a Dundee, N.Y., resident, is looking forward to diving deeply into the life of a researcher.

“By the end of this experience, I expect to have around 400 hours of work dedicated to the research,” she said. “I’m extremely grateful to be able to dedicate so much time to this vital agricultural exploration.”

Not only that, the training will inform her thinking when she pursues post-graduate studies.

“This will be my first time doing research at a land grant institution, and I hope my new understanding of how research is done will solidify some of the essential decisions involving grad school applications,” she said.  

The Magnusen Scholarship for Summer Scientific Research Field Period® Experiences enables students to undertake immersive scientific research experiences within the context of Field Period® internships. It honors the career and learning philosophy of Joan E. Magnusen, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Biology and a member of the Keuka College Academic Faculty from 1982 to 2016.