Priscilla Randolph, The Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies

She’s the “purple unicorn” of the plant world – a top-notch, in-the-lab plant scientist who also digs in the dirt with kids - helping them grow their green thumbs. Priscilla Randolph exudes plant-energy and lights up a room (and garden) with her enthusiasm, smile, and dedication to finding plant-based solutions to disease.

Priscilla received her Masters degree in Food and Nutritional Sciences from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University.  She attributes her love of plants to her grandparents. She spent her childhood summers helping them tend their vegetables and fruits. While she says she did not always enjoy it, “… I realize that those gardens my grandparents had, and working in them, established my roots in agriculture and nutrition.”

RandolphInLab.pngIn the lab at The Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, Priscilla spends her time extracting bioactive nutrients from different fruits and vegetables with hopes of “…discovering the right active ingredient to combat the diseases, such as diabetes, that plague our society.”  She’s passionate about her experiments and shares that “Nutrient extraction from plants has been used over the centuries to cure diseases and ailments. Horticulture is very important to our present and our future, especially in drug development.”

Not content to focus all her efforts in the lab, Priscilla jumped at the chance to join her colleagues, Dr. Leonard Williams and Shurrita Davis, in creating a community children’s garden. About three times a week Priscilla gets to spend her afternoons helping to maintain the garden and teach plant programs to kids.

Seed Your Future first met Priscilla at the American Horticultural Society’s National Child and Youth Garden Symposium in 2019.  Her role as an educator/scientist was clear to us the moment we met her. When asked about her favorite thing about her job, she shared, “I love the fact that I can see the molecular effects that fruits and vegetables have on us in the lab and then get to translate that knowledge to our children in the garden.”  We love that as well – and for that we’ve selected Priscilla as one of our Plant Champions!


- Every day, the plant world is quietly led by horticulture heroes and plant champions who make an enormous impact on our lives and the future of the planet. Seed Your Future aims to share their stories, promote horticulture, and inspire more people to pursue careers working with plants. If you would like to recommend someone to be featured, submit their story!
-Interested in other Horticulture Heroes and Plant Champions?  Read all of their stories on our Seed Your Future Horticulture Heroes and Plant Champions Page.
Photo Credits – All - Priscilla Randolph