Joshua Rinehart is a master’s student at North Dakota State University. His expertise includes DNA extractions, running QPCR, and troubleshooting in both the lab and field. He is currently working on a nesting preference experiment where he gave alfalfa bees different sized nesting cavities to see where they prefer to nest and how that effects their body size. Josh’s dream project would be examining the short and long-term effects of pesticides on pollinators. He would subject bees to various pesticides and measure their telomeres to try to find any effect.
Josh was inspired by his dad to become a scientist. From a very young age his dad always encouraged him to experiment with things at home. This included things like how long you can annoy the dog before they get up and leave, or in the case of the cat, at what point do they get mad and attack you? When asked about specific advice that has made an impact on Josh, he responded by quoting Adam Savage from MythBusters, “Remember the difference between science and screwing around is writing it down.” While Josh recognizes that Savage isn’t exactly a mentor this quote really stuck with him because it supports the fact that you should be having fun with your research. His second response was advice from an undergraduate mentor who taught Josh that it is extremely important to have things organized before starting an experiment. This is because once it has begun you will have more data than you know what to do with, and it is easy to lose things.
Josh likes being out in the field because every day is something new. Except on one occasion…during his undergraduate work Josh was running a QPCR plate and accidentally used the wrong primmer. He didn’t realize the mistake until he finished the plate. Long story short, he had to start the 2.5-hour process all over again. Practice makes perfect and he can now list this skill as an expertise.
Josh is a loyal Sharks hockey fan, and fully recognizes that the odds of winning the lottery are probably better than the team winning the Stanley Cup. If Josh hadn’t fallen in love with the scientific process, he’d be a conservationist.