“Finding more recent articles for botanical and genetic evidence allowed me to gain new perspectives and additional support for theories suggested in older articles.”

—Elizabeth Chan

All Because of a Cup of Qahwah

Term paper for Plant Biology 143: Evolution of Crop Plants

For her term paper in plant science, Chan wrote about the Coffea arabica species and identified the origin of the crop using genetic, linguistic, archaeological, botanical and historical evidence. Chan identified a range of resources through Google Scholar and library databases, obtained books from Shields and through interlibrary loan, and referenced primary source data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). To overcome a gap in the scholarly record — a lack of archaeological remains of coffee plants — she redirected one piece of her research to focus on porcelain coffee cups as an indicator of the spread of coffee consumption.

In Her Own Words

Read Elizabeth’s reflective essay from her Lang Prize application.