Valerie Wong has been pursuing scientific inquiry and education for over 15 years. She earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Wellesley College and completed a Ph.D. in Plant Biology at UC Berkeley, where she studied fungal genetics and non-photosynthetic plants from California’s Sierra Nevada. Her most recent research investigates microbes living inside plants and lichens of the subarctic through work with the University of Minnesota. At the lab bench, Valerie has honed research skills that include culturing environmental microbes, molecular biology, and high throughput DNA/RNA sequencing. Valerie complements wet lab work with computational expertise in bioinformatics. As an instructor, Valerie brings a philosophy of teaching classes (including botany, general biology, and microbiology) that are both interesting and useful.