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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2020 Julia Ditto

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Tree Growth & Abundance in Arctic Alaska‚Ä®

Julia Ditto is a junior at Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, studying environmental science in preparation for a career in field science and scientific illustration. This summer she will join an ongoing research project in the Brooks Mountain Range, observing the advancement of white spruce (Picea glauca) treeline in arctic Alaska. Ditto will collect data on spruce seedling density and vegetation growth while hiking and pack-rafting through the remote Alaskan wilderness. She will also take on the role of “expedition artist,” carrying a watercolor kit to record the journey and communicate the project through illustration.


2019 Autum Auxier

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Autum Auxier is a junior concentrating in zoology at Ball State University, Muncie, IN. She will participate in a marine biology summer research program aimed at converting Algoa Bay, South Africa, into a Marine Protected Area. Auxier will collect gut samples from various species through the trophic levels for marine plastic analysis. Her work will include deploying and analyzing the footage from Baited Remote Underwater Videos, participating in marine stranding surveys, and attaching GPS trackers to adult African penguins. Her data will be combined with many other projects having similar goals.

2019 Gabby Ross

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Gabby Ross is a sophomore at the University of Tampa. This summer she will spend a month in the Serengeti with The School for Field Studies, an independent study abroad organization, where she will focus on the biophysical and socio-cultural in uences on the ecosystems of Tanzania. She will record animal behaviors, wildlife consensus data, and various quantitative/qualitative observations that will augment The School for Field Studies’ ongoing research. Her goal is to determine how to effectively use natural resources and sustainable practices to bene t both the economies of the local communities and the conservation of the region’s wildlife.

Funded by MAM-NWJ Foundation, Inc.

2019 Jane Williams

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Jane Williams is a freshman at Indiana University studying environmental management. This summer she will be attending a course titled “Volcanoes of the Eastern Sierra Nevada” where she will be studying the geology, natural history, and biodiversity of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain in eastern California. She will be conducting  eld work and designing a research project during her time in the mountains, after which she will submit a research paper. Furthering her understanding of plant life in the area, this course will also contribute to Williams’s research on campus in an environmental science lab.

2018 Hallie Fischman

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Hallie Fischman is a junior concentrating in ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University. She is currently studying the effects of Hurricane Irma on sand dunes at Sapelo Island, Georgia. Her project will specifically look at the role of sea oats (Uniola paniculata) in promoting dune recovery. Sea oats are commonly planted in the southeastern US for dune restoration, and this research will inform conservation practices.

2017 Soren Struckman

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Soren Struckman is a sophomore biology major with a minor in computational and applied math and statistics at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He will participate in a summer research program in plant ecology where he will collect field data on common milkweed demographics and leaf chemistry at various sites across the state. He will use the data to create a computational/mathematical model of milkweed population dynamics to determine the affect of leaf chemistry on population growth. This area of research has strong implications for monarch butterfly conservation.

2017 Colleen Smith

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Colleen Smith is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her project is titled “Threats to the Forest-Associated Bees of New Jersey.” Her research investigates how past and current forest habitat loss affects native bee species that require forest habitat for floral and nesting resources. She will collect bees and measure floral resources at 36 forests in New Jersey that vary in forest age and fragmentation.

2017 Joni Baumgarten

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Joni Baumgarten is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She is interested in learning how plant and soil communities interact. Her project investigates how soil nutrients and the surrounding plant community influence the association of the rare plant, Knieskern’s beaksedge (Rhynchospora knieskernii) with beneficial mycorrhizae. She will study numerous populations in wetlands throughout New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. The results of this project will add to the knowledge of the soil conditions favorable to Knieskern’s beaksedge, which can be used to help conservation and restoration efforts.

2016 Madison Barnes

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Madison Barnes is a sophomore Environmental Science major with a minor in Economics at Duke University in Cary, North Carolina. As a member of the University of California-Davis Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe Program, she will travel to nine cities in Scandinavia/Northern Europe to learn how these cities have successfully incorporated nature into urban planning. Through research, discussion, field trips, and speaking with local experts, she expects to gain a better understanding of the differences in land use and resource laws, cultural differences, and how each urban area functions. Her project will focus on environmental lessons that can be applied to U.S. cities.

2015 Amanda Chang

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Amanda Chang, is a junior at Princeton University in New Jersey, with an academic concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her research will integrate the knowledge of terrestrial fire ecology at the Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Florida, with existing theory of what controls the composition of aquatic communities and whether recent fires increase the amount of nutrients released by terrestrial plants and soils into ponds, and finally how this resource affects amphibian and invertebrate biomass.


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 2020, $306,000 was awarded to 64 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. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships.