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Em J Kapler

Em Kapler

  • Student Services Specialist II
I've proudly been a nerd since I was a kid, but it was taking an AP Biology class in high school that really sparked my interest in the biological sciences as a career choice. Biology became one of my majors during my undergraduate education, where I was originally interested in genetics. Then, I took a basic botany class as part of the biology curriculum and was invited by the professor to do summer research in the woods. Through that experience, I recognized I had a greater passion for wild places than the lab, and since then I have focused on the ecological and botanical aspects of biology. After finishing undergrad, I had the privilege of working a couple years at the Chicago Botanic Garden monitoring rare plant populations as part of their citizen-scientist program, Plants of Concern. From there, I decided to pursue a masters degree and attended right here at Iowa State University. My research focused on developing models to predict the naturalization of non-native woody plants in areas of the Upper Midwest. I was able to apply my knowledge of plants in a new way by working in agriculture for a couple years, where I assisted with development of new varieties of corn and soybeans. I joined the Biology Program team in 2014, and love being able to nerd out with both students and staff alike.

Area of Expertise: Botany, Conservation Biology, and Natural Resource Management

Contact Info

105b Bessey
2200 Osborn Dr.


  • M.S., Forestry with minor in Philosophy, Iowa State University, 2011
  • B.A., Bioogy and Artr, Coe College, 2006