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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2021 Toshio Matsuoka

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, Environmental Science and Public Health, Alaska Pacific University

Vegetation Change in the Brooks Range

Combining imagery from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on NASA’s satellite system with hundreds of miles of vegetation classifications across Alaska’s Brooks Range, Matsuoka will research how the arctic vegetation landscape has been changing over the past 20 years. This summer he will join an expedition traversing 800 miles of wilderness, starting in the central Brooks Range and ending at the Chukchi Sea. During the expedition he will geolocate vegetation changes to validate trends recorded by MODIS.


2021 Sam Venker

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, in Biosciences and in Film/Photography, Rice University

Sampling Sponges and Identification of Bacteria on Coral Reefs

Venker is currently a researcher in the Correa Lab, which specializes in the study of marine microbial communities and the ecology of coral reefs. This summer he will investigate the sponge species Clathrina lutea, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, collecting tissue samples to isolate its associated bacterial communities. He will identify the bacteria using sequencing techniques, and measure their antibiotic-producing capabilities. This data will be useful for understanding the relationship between sponges and their bacterial symbionts, and may also have pharmaceutical applications in humans.


2020 Nathaniel Carlson

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
Project location:

Summer Undergraduate Research

Nathaniel Carlson is a freshman at Cornell University studying biology with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology. This summer, he will study the impact of large mammalian herbivore extinction
on African savanna ecosystems.
 Using data from the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya, he will look into
 the impact of herbivore extinction 
on the diversity and abundance of plants that display physical defenses (e.g., spines, thorns, and prickles) using herbivore exclosures, which simulate herbivore extinction. As large mammalian herbivores worldwide increasingly are threatened with extinction, it is essential to understand the potential downstream effects on plant communities.


2020 Caroline Brose

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Research on Effects of Soil Moisture Decreases on Bird Vetch Growth in Arboreal Forest

Caroline Brose is a sophomore at Colorado College, majoring in organismal biology and ecology. Last summer she worked at the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska on a project studying the effect of climate change on a local invasive plant species, bird vetch (Vicia cracca). Understanding how bird vetch affects its environment and how it is affected by climate change will help land managers best determine how
to eradicate it. She will continue her research in Alaska this summer as she finishes the greenhouse portion of her study and initiates the written report.


2019 Simone Evans

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Simone Evans is a freshman at the University of Maryland who has been studying orchids and their fungal partners at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. This summer she will focus on hybrid orchids using genetic markers to identify their fertility. She will also isolate and sequence fungi from the roots of the hybrid orchids and the parent species to identify whether the hybrid’s fungi are more similar to one parent. Understanding that orchid distribution and viability rely heavily on the fungi available, Evans will compare the geographic distribution of the hybrids and their parent species to their fungal signature.

2019 Adele Woodmansee

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Adele Woodmansee is a senior at Harvard University. She is a double major student in integrative biology and social anthropology with a minor in Latin studies. For the past three years she has been researching maize agriculture in a Zapotec community in southern Mexico. Woodmansee is conducting a genetic study for transgenic contamination in combination with ethnographic research on seed saving practices, the role of subsistence agriculture in family economies, and local ideas around contamination and chemical use. This summer she will return to Oaxaca to complete  nal  eldwork and present results of her genetic research to the community.

2019 Samuel Flett

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Samuel Flett is a junior majoring in wildlife conservation at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. This summer he will study in Chobe National Park, Botswana, conducting international  eld research and data collection in ecology, wildlife capture, rehabilitation, and forensics. The research will focus on discovering creative solutions to critical social problems emergent from human activity and environmental change, speci cally in areas including water systems, rural environments, wildlife conservation, and infectious disease.

2018 Soren Struckman

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Soren Struckman is a senior with a biology major and a minor in applied statistics at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He will be part of a research team studying leaf chemistry and insect herbivory and their effects on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) demographics. He will be using field data to create a computational model of milkweed population dynamics
to determine the effect of temporal variation in leaf traits and of herbivory on population growth.  This area of research has strong implications for monarch butterfly conservation and the restoration of pollinator-friendly habitats.

2018 Camille DeSisto

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Camille DeSisto is a junior at Harvard University studying integrative biology with a secondary concentration in environmental science and public policy.  is summer she will expand upon a project she started last year, studying the invasive strawberry guava in Madagascar.  The goals of the project are to understand animal-mediated dispersal networks, impacts of the strawberry guavas on  oral and faunal community structure, and the genetic diversity throughout the country. The field work for this project will be conducted primarily in Ranomafana National Park, but Camille will also collect data in other national parks in Madagascar.

2017 Camile DeSisto

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Camille DeSisto is a sophomore studying integrative biology at Harvard. Her conservation biology fieldwork will be conducted at Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park, where she will study how lemurs and birds facilitate the spread of invasive plant species, particularly the strawberry guava, in the rainforests. She will collect data on the eating and defecation patterns of lemurs and birds, gather samples of plant tissues for DNA analysis, record the size and extent of flora, and conduct germination experiments.


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.