After Kally Worm began her college career, she took up a premed curriculum, looking forward to medical school and the day she would become a doctor. Then she landed a summer internship at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.
Suddenly, she found herself out in the green fields and fresh air an hour north of the Twin Cities, monitoring the health not of patients but of plots of prairie plants given extra inputs of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Working under professional researchers, Worm was in the field measuring photosynthesis when it hit her:
“It was tranquil, quiet, and peaceful,” she recalls. “Two sandhill cranes flew in—it was the most amazing workplace ever. I knew I wanted to stay exactly where I was.”