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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2018 Katherine Farley

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany

Katherine Farley is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research is concerned with the emerging market for wild-simulated ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and other medicinal herbs grown in Appalachia. She is particularly interested in how growers acquire knowledge about the operation of wild-simulated systems, as well as how value-added qualities like wild or wild-simulated adhere to products as they travel through medicinal plant supply chains. Farley’s research has implications for medicinal plant conservation in Appalachia because wild populations of many species are under threat due to overharvesting and habitat loss.

2018 Grady Zuiderveen

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany

Grady Zuiderveen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Pennsylvania State University.
His research is focused on the habitat, chemistry, and genetics of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), which is a medicinal herb native to the forests of Appalachia. He will be working to determine the in uence of habitat conditions and genetics
on the expression of the alkaloids that are associated with its medicinal value.  e results of this work will help inform decisions about the conservation of the species through cultivation.

2018 Amanda Thiel

The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany

Amanda Thiel is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology at Washington State University. She conducts research in Guatemalan Q'eqchi' Maya communities of various sizes—from rural village to semi-urban. Her research seeks to understand how acculturation and cultural values a ect ethnobotanical medical knowledge and practice in these communities.  iel’s master’s thesis, based on  eldwork in a Q'eqchi' Maya village, was centered around utilitarian aspects of local ethnobotany and the variation in cultivation of medicinal plants in village home gardens.

2018 Nicki Gustafson

The Garden Club of America Summer Scholarship in Field Botany

Nicki Gustafson is a  rst- year master’s student at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. She is interested in how herbivore interactions in uence plant reproduction. Her current project is looking at the potential for specialist herbivores to bene t reproductive e orts in common milkweed.  is summer at Blandy Experimental Farm, a research institute in Virginia, Gustafson will be working on pollination studies with common milkweed (Asclepias syrica) and milkweed longhorn beetles (Tetraopes) while mentoring two undergraduate students. She will also be conducting a greenhouse experiment looking at how beetle larvae in uence asexual reproduction.

2018 Tara Neuffer

The Zeller Summer Scholarship in Medicinal Botany

Tara Neuffer is a senior at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her focus is on public health, women’s studies, and international development. In connection with her research, Neu er will live in Malawi, assessing the medicinal plants administered to women during pregnancy and labor. She will conduct 90 in-depth interviews with traditional healers, birth attendants, and their clients about the medicinal plants prescribed and then collect samples of each plant discussed. At the University of Malawi she will
aid in testing these specimens for their contractile properties. Neu er hopes that her study, one of the  rst to document plants administered during pregnancy in Malawi, will identify which plant species may be contributing to the country’s high rate of uterine ruptures.

2018 Ezra Houston

The Zeller Summer Scholarship in Medicinal Botany

Ezra Houston is an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University, studying forest ecosystems management. His project is titled “An Analysis of Chemical Compounds in Goldenseal to Determine Factors of their Variance.” Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is a native herbaceous medicinal plant containing three compounds with antibacterial properties. Houston
will analyze the leaves of the plant throughout the summer to determine the relative concentrations of the chemical compounds. Understanding the plant structure will allow for a more sustainable harvest of goldenseal for commercial markets.

2018 Kathryn Bagger

The Zeller Summer Scholarship in Medicinal Botany

Kathryn Bagger is an undergraduate majoring in human health at Emory University in Atlanta. She is currently receiving training in properly collecting, identifying, and extracting active compounds from medicinal plants native to Georgia. She will be working with the Quave Research Group at Emory to study Native American botanical remedies for wounds and infections. Bagger will participate in extensive book and journal research identifying prospective medicinal plants, after which she will assist in  eldwork
and collection for three weeks at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Georgia. For the remaining three months of summer she will work in the lab studying these plants’ active compounds as well as proposing possible applications for them.

2018 Anthony Logan Ferrero

The Joan K. Hunt and Rachel M. Hunt Summer Scholarship in Field Botany

Anthony Logan Ferrero is a second-year microbiology major at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. This summer he will be studying the mechanism and adaptive significance of nickel hyperaccumulation in Streptanthus polygaloides, a serpentine species endemic to the western Sierra Nevada foothills. He will perform field collections of S. polygaloides (milkwort jewelflower) in its native range, as well as conduct a garden study examining factors affecting nickel hyperaccumulation
in this species, including drought stress and microbial diversity. Results may have implications for the use of hyperaccumulators in phytoremediation, which employs living green plants for decontamination.

2018 Jasen Liu

The Joan K. Hunt and Rachel M. Hunt Summer Scholarship in Field Botany
Jasen Liu is a junior studying biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His project is titled “Ecological Roles of Floral Pigment Variation over Ontogeny.”  is  eld season he will be investigating how pollinator behavior is a ected by changes in petal pigment of elegant Clarkia unguiculata, a California wild ower, as its  owers progress from functionally male to functionally female.  The results of this project will be valuable for deeper understanding of the intricate mechanisms that plants utilize to communicate with their pollinators and ensure successful reproduction.

Funded by Friends and Colleagues of Nishi Rajakaruna

2018 Jeannine H. Richards

The Garden Club of America Awards in Tropical Botany

Jeannine H. Richards, a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin, focuses her research on tropical forests where high biodiversity frequently intersects with rapid deforestation rates. Shade grown co ee has become a model system for studying how agriculture that incorporates trees may serve as substitute habitat for forest species. Epiphytes, or air plants, may be especially able
to utilize shade trees as substrate.  ese plants serve a keystone role, cycling nutrients and providing food and habitat for invertebrates and birds. Management decisions alter abiotic environments in co ee farms, a ecting epiphyte assemblages. Richards compares vascular epiphyte richness, composition, and abundance on small and large farms, and links environmental conditions favoring epiphytes to producers’ management decisions.


Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2018, more than $308,400 were awarded to 65 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.