Photosynthetic Humanity

Scholarship Entrant: Cody from Monticello, Florida
Essay Question: If you could earn a living doing what you love most, what would it be, and how would it change the world? Describe the specific goals you would set to make that dream a reality.
Vote for Cody: 25

My name is Cody Bell; I am a molecular biology student. I am pursuing a career in genetic engineering, the science responsible for making better crops and medicines at the genetic level. For the past 2 years, I have worked in the botanical research lab of Dr. Andrew Palmer at the Florida Institute of Technology. My career plans include taking up an internship at local Melbourne biotech firms my graduate year. Following my graduate year I plan to work my way up in an agribusiness company, such as DOW Chemical, doing whatever work I can justify with my ability. As a genetic engineer, my main area of interest would be incorporating the ability of plants to use sunlight for energy into other organisms, chiefly humans. All plants have small bacteria living inside their cells called plastids (e.g. chloroplasts). These plastids can use photosynthesis, the process used to convert solar energy into chemical energy, essentially providing food for the plants using sunlight and carbon dioxide. Conferring photosynthesis to animals has the effects of solving world hunger by giving people the ability to make their own food just by tanning. Also, global warming is reduced by humans, and presumably our livestock as well, by taking in more carbon dioxide than they release. This may all sound far-fetched, but several species of sea slugs have already managed to become semi-photosynthetic and giving humans the ability remains plausible.

Vote for Cody: 25

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