June 3, 2015
In 2012, Christopher Rodriguez, a student at Texas Tech University (TTU) and a newly minted TTU/Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Scholar, called his father Chris to tell him how excited he was about his fieldwork studying trees in the arid Franklin Mountains near El Paso. "Well, that sounds boring," the senior Rodriguez, a computer engineer, remembers thinking. Yet his son's enthusiasm and gift for explaining scientific concepts soon ignited a spark of interest in the father. "He had a way about himself to get people really excited about science, particularly about the stuff he was working on," Rodriguez's father says.