My name is Alison Snyder, and I am a RaMP Rare Plant Specialist at the San Diego Botanic Garden. RaMP stands for Research and Mentorship Program for Post- Baccalaureates. This program spans over four different botanic gardens across the country, including SDBG, and is focused on diversifying the STEM workforce through paid training and mentorship. This position allows me the opportunity to work with conservation professionals in the science and conservation department at the Garden, and develop my own research project surrounding a rare plant over the course of a year.

Six months into the year, I have designed and started a salt tolerance trial of a California rare bean, P. filiformis, comparing the salt tolerance of 30 different genetic lines of this species, as well as comparing it to the common bean, P. vulgaris, also known as the Pinto or Black or Kidney bean.

This year so far has not only been developing this experiment. I have been able to listen to talks about current events in botany in Southern California. I have been able to collaborate with partners in Baja California and be a part of their conservation efforts in surveying public lands that botanists have not yet explored. I was fortunate enough to visit the Atlanta Botanic Garden, with the rest of the RaMP cohort, and develop my soft and hard skills, as well as collaborate with the other mentees in my same position. I have participated in fieldwork across central and southern California, collecting seeds and specimens of rare plants for ex-situ conservation. And I am only halfway through! There is so much more for me to learn in the coming months. I am most excited to continue to collect and better understand the data I am collecting for Phaseolus, and learn how salt stress affects different lineages of the same species to hopefully answer some questions I am dying to know on which and why some beans are more salt-tolerant than others.











After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2023 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Soil Science, I was not sure what I wanted to do, besides knowing that I love science, plants, and soil. This program has allowed me to apply the skills and knowledge I learned during my undergrad to develop my own project that I maintain and continue to develop. It has pushed me in the direction of plant stress-tolerance and understanding the wild relatives of common crops. This program has given me the opportunity to leap into the realm of research, and I am fortunate enough to be truly enjoying the work I am doing. I will use the skills I am building and the relationships I have made to further my career in botany and conservation.

For anyone considering applying for this program, I would say that it is an amazing opportunity. It can be heavy on independent work; however, if you are a recent undergraduate interested in research, in the realm of botany, conservation, or plant science, then this could be an amazing opportunity for you.


Alison Snyder is a current mentee as part of our RaMP program. Now in its second year, the Rare Plant RaMP (Research & Mentoring for Post-baccalaureates in Biological Sciences) network was developed to investigate the unprecedented global decline of plant biodiversity while also broadening the experience of individuals who were not able to participate extensively in research during their undergraduate studies. Applications for 2024 – 2025 are now open through March 15, 2024. For more information about the program and applications, visit the website here.