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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2022 Nora Gavin Smyth

The Garden Club of America Fellowship in Tropical Botany

The Diversity and Evolution of Impatiens in the Eastern Arc Mountains

Using field botany, herbarium research, and genomics to explore the diversity of Impatiens in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains, Gavin-Smyth’s research will investigate how 40-plus Impatiens species came to be endemic to the area. Gavin-Smyth will apply both phylogenomics and population genomics to understand their evolution and conservation outlook and will trace the origins of Eastern Arc impatiens. In tandem with the genomics research, Gavin-Smyth will revise Impatiens taxonomy as needed and will refine conservation assessments for these rare species.

2022 Justin Peterman

The Garden Club of America Montine M. Freeman Scholarship in Native Plant Studies

Understanding Ecological Relationships among Cultivated Lines of Native Plants and Pollinators: A Case Study Using Asclepias (Milkweed)

Peterman’s project will investigate the ecosystem services that cultivars of native plants provide in urban and suburban spaces. Using Asclepias, Peterman will study traits important to maintaining plantpollinator relationships and will look to ensure that this relationship is not hindered in breeding projects aimed at introducing native plants to the ornamental market.

2022 Thomas Glen Leihsing

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Exploring Endangered Populations of Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers in the Sandhills Area of North Carolina

Leihsing seeks to broaden the understanding of how policy affects endangered species and how current conservation efforts are beneficial to red-cockaded woodpeckers as a whole. This summer Leihsing will work with North Carolina’s Sandhills Ecological Institute to research how policy affects conservation efforts, specifically efforts to protect species listed under the Endangered Species Act.


2022 Annalise Rose Riekerk

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

Environmental Field Study in Namibia

This summer Riekerk will be taking a research course in Namibia that focuses on interactions between the indigenous communities that run the country’s conservancies and their environment. Experiences including tracking leopards, coupled with intensive coursework, studying the land and culture of Namibia will allow Riekerk to better understand the different ways people both live off and conserve natural areas.

2022 Matthew Menkart

The Zeller Summer Scholarship in Medicinal Botany

Inhibition of Drug-Metabolizing Cytochrome P450 Enzymes by Common Herbal Dietary Supplements

Menkart’s project at the Quave Research Group will examine commonly used herbal supplements for potential inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes. Menkart’s research aims to better understand herbdrug interactions that are imperative to fostering safe use of botanicals in the diet.

2022 John Steinhorst

The Garden Club of America Montine M. Freeman Scholarship in Native Plant Studies

Conservation Horticulture for the Native Hawaiian Caper

Working to conserve Hawaii’s threatened native plants through horticulture and landscape practice, Steinhorst’s research will evaluate Hawaii’s vulnerable native caper, Capparis sandwichiana. Steinhorst will determine seed-dormancy classification and identify most effective propagation methods. The findings will help provide a better understanding of the species’ ecology, seed characteristics, landscaping applications, and growing requirements for conservation managers, landscape designers, and horticulturists to perpetuate the vulnerable endemic plant.

2022 Jonathan T Crabill

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

Feedback between Common Shellfish Species and Water Quality

Crabill’s research will explore the interactions between bivalves and water quality in Florida’s Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. After transplanting juvenile oysters and mussels along a nutrient gradient, Crabill will analyze length, biomass, and nutrient content to better understand the conditions under which bivalves can be used as a restoration tool to improve water quality.

2022 Sam Fry

The Garden Club of America and the Royal Horticultural Society Interchange Fellowships

Principles and Practices of Horticulture, Bournemouth University, Capel Manor College, Regent’s Park

Fry will be at Longwood Gardens for the 2022–23 GCA/RHS Interchange Fellowship year, looking forward to furthering a horticultural career which started in landscape design. A gardener and horticulturalist with a passion for plants and landscapes, Fry aspires to create natural, accessible urban spaces. Fry has experience in ornamental horticulture as a trainee gardener at The Honorable Society of Inner Temple in London and as an apprentice gardener at Victoria Park in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Fry’s hobbies include botanical and aerial photography focusing on landscapes. An avid traveler, Fry is excited for this unique opportunity that will allow a return to the United States, where family lived for a period of time.

2022 Mallory Mead

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Preferences of Petal-Cutting Bees

Mead’s undergraduate research thesis will study a Pacific Northwest wildflower, farewell-to-spring, and the leafcutter bees that harvest the flower’s petals for their nests. By comparing leafcutter bee usage of native subspecies of farewell-to-spring to its nonnative subspecies and cultivars, Mead seeks to draw conclusions about the potential importance of planting native varieties of farewell-to-spring for ecological gardening and restoration to facilitate pollinator-plant interaction.

2022 Devin Brewer

The Katharine M. Grosscup Scholarships in Horticulture

End of Production Radiation Quality Treatments Effect on Quality and Yield of Hydroponic Lettuce: Exploring the effects of various light qualities used as end of production lighting treatments on the quality and yield of leafy greens and microgreens.

With experience as a horticulture technician, Brewer will explore the effects of various light qualities used as end-of-production lighting treatments on the quality and yield of leafy greens and microgreens. Focus will be given to the coloration and nutrition of hydroponically grown red leaf lettuce. Brewer aspires to contribute to a more environmentally conscious horticulture industry. 

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Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 29 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2022, over $350,000 were awarded to 78 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Twitter for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through the Garden Club of America scholars. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships. Browse the scholarship offerings.