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Dr. Caren Chang is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at University of Maryland College Park. Since joining the faculty in 1994, Dr. Chang has been carrying out research to understand how plant hormones work at the molecular and cellular levels. Her research group is particularly interested in the plant hormone ethylene, a small gaseous molecule, which has profound effects on plants, such as the triggering of fruit ripening. Recently her team members have begun studying another intriguing small molecule that had not been previously recognized as a plant hormone. They are investigating the unknown functions and evolutionary history of this newly discovered hormone, using a wide range of models, including algae, moss, liverworts, and the tiny flowering plant Arabidopsis. In addition to research, Dr. Chang is dedicated to teaching and mentoring. Over the years, she has trained numerous graduate students and postdocs in her laboratory. She has served on approximately 90 graduate thesis committees and has engaged more than 80 undergraduates and local high school students in her research.

Dr. Chang’s interest in Terrapin Teachers is based on her desire to strengthen K-12 STEM education to enhance scientific literacy in the general public, and to be involved in developing great teachers, who will be inspiring future generations of STEM scholars. Dr. Chang will provide supervision and support for the Terrapin Teachers program and serve as a liaison between the program and faculty collaborations in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.