Staff Spotlight: Jianru “Jane” Chen

Jianru “Jane” Chen has a smile that brightens the day of her co-workers, but it is her eye for detail and laser focus that make her stand out as a Seed Analyst II in the Iowa State University (ISU) Seed Science Center (SSC) Seed Lab.

“Jane is like the Energizer bunny. She keeps plugging away germination and tetrazolium tests for sample-after-sample, of a wide variety of seed species,” said Mike Stahr, Seed Lab Manager.  ”She doesn’t do a lot of talking or get distracted.”

Jane, who is originally from Beijing, China, has lived in the United States since 1994 and in Ames for the past 20 years.  She graduated from Iowa State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics.  Jane first started working at the SSC  as a temporary seed analyst in 2015 and was hired as full-time Germination Lab staff in 2017.       

“I like gardening because it reduces my stress and improves my mood. I think it is good for my mental health.,” Jane said.  “That is why I feel so lucky to work for Seed Science Center!” 

Her co-workers will tell you they are the lucky ones to get to work with Jane.  Seed Lab supervisor, Kim North, says Jane is a quick learner, always willing to help, and the perfect complement for the SSC “family.” 

“Jane is a valuable member due to her pleasant personality, willingness to learn and her eye for detail,” Kim said. “Germination, vigor, and tetrazolium testing come very natural for Jane.”

 In 2019, Jane achieved the designation of Certified Seed Analyst in Germination from Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) and Society of Official Seed Technologists  (SCST).  She says also enjoys teaching the Germination short course at the SSC.  

Besides gardening, Jane enjoys spending time with her husband of 30 years and her two children, who work on opposite sides of the country. 

“My son is working for Microsoft in Seattle, and my daughter just started working for an accounting firm in DC,” Jane said.  “I am very proud of their independence and success, but I wish for them to move back to the mid-west so it is easier to visit them when I miss them.”