Jill Ekar

Jill Ekar is a researcher with the Brandvain lab at the University of Minnesota. She works at the intersection of two CBS departments: Plant Biological Sciences and Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. She helps out with several different projects—mostly involving plant evolution—but her primary focus is to apply her background toward a project that fits her values of conservation: domesticating perennial sunflowers in collaboration with Forever Green. A perennial sunflower crop would be one step toward preserving soil and water and reducing carbon inputs in the face of climate change.


Brandvain Lab website

Forever Green

As a first-generation college student, Jill Ekar wanted to share her story about navigating the challenges that she faced and other first-generation students may encounter. Listen to her story below:

Curious about how evolution works? JIll created a fun song and music video to teach you and younger learners about evolution! She also goes over the concept of genetic drift and shows a fun game you can do at home. Finally, feel free to use the coloring pages she created on hybrid animals.

Use the links below or visit our YouTube channel (link in bio) to see the content!

Music video:

Genetic drift activity:

Coloring pages


Header Photo by Olena Sergienko