Student Spotlight

From the ground up: Plant biology outstanding senior continues to impress

Being a year ahead in a biological science degree is impressive. Senior Molly Haddox decided it wasn’t impressive enough and added a plant biology major to her college career. The addition paid off. The Okemah, Oklahoma, native recently won the plant biology outstanding senior award within the College of Arts and Sciences. 

“I was really excited,” Haddox said. “Everyone in the department is really close so I was thrilled because they believed in me enough to vote for me.”

Haddox graduated from the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics before coming to OSU to study biology. An introductory plant biology course led to her second degree in plant biology, and eventually a spot in department head Andrew Doust’s lab.

“They started doing the research lab that year,” Haddox said. “It was the first semester doing it. He approached me afterward and said there’s a job in the lab if you want it, and it’s yours. I’ve been working there ever since. I ended up going home during that initial summer, and he gave me a summer project, so I grew plants in my parent’s garden and started from there.”

Haddox is researching Setaria, which is a type of foxtail grass, and its mutations. She is working to isolate a gene that controls the way grasses flower through bioinformatics. 

“Molly is growing as a student,” Doust said. “She is determined and is always asking the right questions.”

Haddox plans to attend graduate school and eventually get a Ph.D. Her passion is genetics, an industry she can teach and research simultaneously.

Though she credits the introductory plant biology course as her reason for choosing the major, she also discussed the caring faculty as one of the many benefits of her choice.

“Everyone is so friendly and nice,” Haddox said. “If I have a problem for class, they will help me. It’s a very close-knit group of people. They’ll do anything for you. My favorite thing is being able to walk down the hallways and they all say, ‘Hi Molly!’”

For more information on the Department of Plant Biology, Ecology and Evolution, visit