Kristen Kempfert

Mentor: Dr. Brantlee Spakes Richter
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
"I am intrigued by the scientific process and learning something new. Through scientific research, there is always something exciting and new to study- always a chance to learn. Science has the power to impact many lives, and I find it exhilarating to be a part of something that could help others."


Horticultural Sciences



Research Interests

  • Endomycorrhizal fungi
  • Soil microbes
  • Plant propagation

Academic Awards

  • African Violet Society of America Scholarship 2015
  • Men's Garden Club of Jacksonville, 2015 and 2016
  • Batson Scholarship 2016
  • Bright Futures Scholarship 2012-16


  • UF Engineering Student Advisory Council


  • Foster with Gainesville Pet Rescue
  • Mentor for ProjectCSGirls

Hobbies and Interests

  • Upright Bass
  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Hiking

Research Description

Finding Algorithmic Patterns in Music
Our objectives are to:
(1.) assess the efficacy of various inoculum sources for improving growth of C. sinensis (2.) compare inocula to determine which can improve the quality of harvested tea

Our study includes testing various arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inocula for the effects on the growth of Camellia sinensis and the subsequent quality of the tea produced. Four different inocula will be tested. Spores will be obtained from four sources- the roots of ornamental C. japonica, a commercial AMF meant to influence growth, the roots of established C. sinensis plants (in the landscape for greater than five years), and the roots of newly established C. sinensis plants (in the landscape for less than three years but more than six months). Once the spores are obtained, they will be cultured and prepared to inoculate the test C. sinensis plants. The test plants will be grown in a greenhouse to prevent contamination and to control for other environmental variables.

Biomass, height, canopy density, root establishment, and yield of tea will also be assessed as growth parameters for C. sinensis. When harvesting tea, only the terminal two leaves and the bud are utilized. The harvested tea will be measured in dry weight to establish the yields of tea. Second, these leaves will be tested for quality parameters including phenols, caffeine, and other characteristics.