Ray Watson is a Ph.D. candidate in biology where his research focuses on understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying domestication. Using DNA from archeological samples and modern plant breeding techniques, Ray studies how Native Americans transformed a weedy bush into the oil-producing giant sunflower we recognize today. He has presented his work at the national conferences including Evolution and Plant & Animal Genomes as well as at The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard. Ray has also developed and led workshops on genomic sequencing and sunflowers at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Ray earned his B.A. in biology and religion from Swarthmore College in 2013.