Adam Mittermaier


Contact Information

Genetics Department
University of Wisconsin
425-G Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706 USA






Why I Became a Scientist:
It is difficult for me to think of my reply to this prompt without thinking of one of my favorite professors. His answer was in two parts: (1) "science is the best game in town", (2) "science is a pain in the neck but it sure beats working for a living." That more or less sums it up for me. I enjoy working in science because the scientific method is the best tool for the pursuit of knowledge. A scientist's job is rarely as glamorous as that last sentence would make it sound but every job has its tediums and I find that research is satisfying and rewarding to me even when I am counting kernels or pipetting. I was introduced to science at a young age by my state park naturalist mother and by my born curiosity with the world. But I don't remember thinking of science as a sure thing in my future until I arrived at UW-Madison and began studying botany. When I completed my undergraduate degree, I found a job as a technician in the university's Department of Soil Science. And now I am researching maize and teosinte with the Panzea project. All that is to say that I haven't settled down in one scientific field because so far I have not been able to narrow it down to just one. I really enjoy working as a research technician and thinking about general research methodology because I can do those things without being an expert in any one field. I think my payroll title summarizes my role better than one would expect, "Research Specialist".

Panzea was funded by the National Science Foundation, Plant Genome Research Project, award #1238014: “The Biology of Rare Alleles in Maize and Its Wild Relatives”; the research groups on this project were also supported by the USDA-ARS, their home institutions, and/or various other sources of funding.