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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2023 Nathan Hewitt

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, Marine Science and Environmental Studies, Florida Gulf Coast University

Continued Research Experiences for Undergraduates in the Marine Science and Environmental Studies Program


Hewitt will take part in the eastern oyster monitoring project, a joint effort between Florida Gulf Coast University and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Nine sites across San Carlos Bay will be studied. Hewitt will pump and collect water samples, record water-quality data, and count the number of spat (oyster larvae permanently attached to a surface) on oyster strings. Hewitt’s findings will be compared to water-quality data to determine the causes of increased or decreased abundance in larvae- and spat-recruitment rates.

2023 Mia Perry

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, Biology, College of William & Mary

Sugar Type and Sugar Concentration Influence Pollinia Germination in Two Asclepias Species

Perry will study symbiotic interaction with pollinating insects in Asclepias syriaca, common milkweed. Perry’s project seeks to determine how frequently pollen tube germination happens in field-collected nectar samples and how varying sugar type proportions affect pollen tube germination. Travel to new research sites will allow Perry to conduct additional trials to obtain a more accurate representation of the interaction between pollinia germination, sugar concentration, and nectar microbial communities.


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 Eva Donegan Coleman

The Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Eastern Himalayan Forests and Biodiversity

Coleman will conduct summer studies in Bhutan at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research. Coleman will investigate how rural development and local knowledge systems affect Bhutan’s natural-resource management. Coleman will conduct forest inventories, collect data from camera traps, and record the ecological and cultural aspects of the landscapes. Coleman believes it is crucial for Bhutan, as one of the most biodiverse countries, to survey and protect these resources as industrialization grows.

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.


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.


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.

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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 2023, over $405,000 were awarded to 86 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Instagram for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through Garden Club of America scholars. Browse the scholarship offerings.

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