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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2022 Alicia J Fahrner

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Reimagining Historic Garden Beds at the Hilltop House of Dorothy Riester: Using a process defined by site analysis and observation, historical and biographical research, and a lens of contemporary, ecologically-based design knowledge to create planting plans for several historic garden beds in an outdoor art space open to the public every day of the year.

Alicia is in her second year of a three-year graduate degree program in Landscape Architecture at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. She was guided there by her passion for plants, ecology, design, and sustainability. Since summer 2021, Alicia has been working as a garden intern at the historic Hilltop House & Studio in Cazenovia, NY, where she is reimagining several large garden beds through the artful and experimental lens of the original garden designer, Dorothy Riester, but with a modern ecological twist. Her work there is documented through writing, sketching, collage, photography, painting, and digital renderings.

2022 Sierra S Roark

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Green Gold: Plant Use, Identity, and Power in the Chesapeake, ca. 1600-1800: An archaeological and historical investigation of plant use in the Chesapeake Tidewater, AD 1600-1800.

Sierra Roark is a doctoral student in anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Roark’s research combines archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnobotany to understand the intersections of human-environmental relationships, well-being, and manifestations of identity and power in the colonial Chesapeake (AD 1600-1800). She will examine communities of practice, landscape management, and garden design among the diverse populations that lived in the Virginia and Maryland Tidewater. Roark has an MA in anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA in anthropology and history from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

2021 Anna Bierbrauer

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design
School: PhD candidate in Design and Planning, University of Colorado Denver

Erasure and Acceptance of Aridity in the American West

Bierbrauer’s research combines political ecology, environmental history, and critical physical geography with the landscape architecture and planning professions, to understand historical and current equity issues related to water and vegetation in cities of the American West. Using geospatial methods, archives, and interviews, she will examine how cities have suppressed aridity in the past. As water resources become strained and climate patterns more extreme, this will contribute to an understanding of how cities can re-introduce aridity with a lens of equity and environmental justice.


2020 Aja Grande

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Gardens On-land and Undersea: Planting Native Hawaiian Revival

Aja Grande is a Ph.D. candidate 
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of History, Anthropology, Science Technology & Society. She is an ethnographer of civic infrastructures and land ecologies as spaces of subject formation. She accounts for the 
living history found among built environments in 20th and 21stcentury Hawaii and across the United States. As a scholar who works across various forms of media, Grande embraces writing, documentary filmmaking, and multimedia exhibitions for community engagement. Her dissertation examines how intimate knowledge of earthly stewardship, ranging from the mountains to the sea, recovered spaces of land to ameliorate the ecological scars of US colonial infrastructure projects.

2020 Yoni Angelo Carnice

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Eden of the Hinterlands: Reclaiming Asian-American Garden History

Yoni Angelo Carnice is a master’s student in landscape architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His project will contribute to the growing body of knowledge surrounding Asian American garden history through a focus on Cayuga Park in San Francisco, California, and its retired gardener, Demetrio Braceros. Carnice is particularly interested in artists like Derek Jarman (deceased) and Jamaica Kincaid, who use gardens to study and express
 a personal relationship to history, mortality, and community. Carnice’s work will result in a printed dossier, including a collection of the design research conducted.

2019 Lizabeth Wardzinski

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Lizabeth Wardzinski is a PhD candidate in design at North Carolina State University. Wardzinski focuses her research on the Tennessee Valley Authority as a mechanism for shaping areas of the American consciousness as well as the landscape. In her dissertation, Wardzinski hopes to demonstrate how popular notions of conservation and the wilderness were vital to promoting the TVA mission of regional planning and decentralization. Focusing on the cultivation of the tourism industry by the TVA as a development model, Wardzinski contrasts recreational model-planning typologies of the TVA with development models of industrial and residential planning.

2018 Sara Jacobs

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Sara Jacobs is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington. Her dissertation explores the historic relationship between landscape and site to propose a model for how design can engage the social, ecological, and political complexity of cities. Her professional design experience includes working at SCAPE Landscape Architecture, where she helped to lead urban design and waterfront projects; and at OPSYS Landscape, where she used mapping and visual representation as media for revealing environmental, political, and infrastructural intersections. Sara has an MLA from Harvard University and a BA in architecture and conservation resource studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She plans to pursue a career in academia.

2017 Kevin Jeffery

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Kevin Jeffery is a master’s student in landscape architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. His objective is to develop a “blue
index” project in the City of Austin, which will rank and categorize water areas of all types for the amount of relaxation they induce as well as their perceived human value. He will install 25 photo stations throughout the city for participants to rank an area for how much it contributes to their level of calmness as well as submit a photograph capturing the water scene with their smart device.

2016 Maggie Kraus

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Maggie Kraus is a master's student in Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her research aims to document and celebrate the stories and experiences embedded within community gardens throughout New England. She will use oral history as a way to personify these spaces, challenging the predominant understanding of what qualifies as a garden and who qualifies as a gardener. Her findings will be compiled online as the New England Community Garden Oral History Project, helping to connect current and prospective community gardeners everywhere.

2016 Elyzabeth Engle

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Elyzabeth Engle is a PhD candidate in Rural Sociology and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment at Penn State University. Her dissertation research is titled, “Cultivating Community Capacities for What? And for Whom?: An Examination of Community Garden Programs in Rural Appalachia.” She will focus on the community development and social justice implications of community gardens in regions historically reliant on natural resource extraction. Elyzabeth grew up in rural Pennsylvania, which fostered a passion for understanding and enhancing environmental sustainability and community resilience through engaged scholarship projects. She has supplemented her academic pursuits through work at Penn State’s Sustainability Institute and practice in local agrifood projects.


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 2021, over $300,000 were awarded to 61 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.