Laura A. Marsh ’23


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project Title

Growing in the Garden State: Understanding Factors That Impact Food Production

Presentation Link

View Laura A.'s Presentation

Certificate(s): Visual Arts, Environmental Studies

I collected data across six different farms in the Princeton, New Jersey, area, working alongside three fellow HMEI interns and my mentor Gina Talt. We were tasked with using the data we collected to answer real questions affecting farmers today in the face of climate change, expanding populations and a struggling economy. I specifically designed a method of categorizing tomato plants according to their visual signifiers of disease in order to track their health over time. I looked into the field of light spectroscopy in which the specific wavelength of light perceived is used to infer real-time plant data, such as the normalized difference vegetation index, or the overall “greenness” of a plant. I also learned the basics of soil sampling, and insect identification, as well as how to manage real-world data. The data I collected will be further analyzed by students in spring 2022. I can’t wait to see what else can be discovered!

Internship Year


Project Category

Food Systems, Water And Human Health


Rubenstein Research Group, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University- Princeton, New Jersey


Daniel Rubenstein, Class of 1877 Professor of Zoology, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Gina Talt, Food Systems Project Specialist, Office of Sustainability