UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity Celebrates Employee on STEM-OPT as She Begins a Master's Program
Curatorial Assistant Karen Kyutoku Heads to Grad School
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Karen Kyutoku started volunteering at the herbarium in her senior year. When the pandemic marooned her far from her home island of Shikoku, Japan, upon graduation in June 2020, she was able to turn this problem into an opportunity by enrolling in the STEM-OPT (Optional Training Program), a program for foreign graduates in STEM fields to obtain training in their intended fields that extends their visa for up to two years. With help from the Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) office, Karen became a full-time curatorial assistant. Because Karen is particularly interested in mosses, her special focus became the curation of our lichen and bryophyte collections, which are now fully online with updated names and housed in new archival packets. Her next project: a master’s program at Cal State Los Angeles with extreme environment ecologist Kirsten Fisher. We already miss you, Karen!