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GCA Scholarships Recipients

 

2021 Erica Lynn Collins

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

Researching the Dispersal and Establishment of Castanea dentata (American Chestnut) Seedlings

Collins will use mathematical models to research the dispersal and establishment of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) seedlings. The American chestnut is a critically endangered species due to the chestnut blight fungus, and the knowledge gained from Collins’s research will be useful to inform restoration efforts that enhance regeneration of chestnuts that are blight resistant. Collins aspires to work in the field of ecology, specifically botany.

Funded by Green Spring Valley Garden Club, Zone VI



2021 Melissa Duda

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies
School: Undergraduate, Wildlife Management and Conservation, Unity College

A Case Study to Better Inform Land Managers: Using Floristic Data to Assess Fluctuations in Species Composition under Different Landscape Contexts

Duda did a research internship at the Chicago Botanic Garden and became inspired to pursue her own research project. This summer she will be identifying the environmental factors that impact prairies in Illinois. The findings will help ecological restoration managers better understand when and how often they should update their restoration goals. Melissa enjoys volunteering at her local conservation district as a plant phenology monitor. She hopes to continue her education in this field by attending graduate school in 2022.

 


2021 Nautica Tarez Jones

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies
School: Undergraduate, Biology, University of Louisiana Monroe

Reassessment of Vegetation in a Relic Louisiana Chenier

In her thesis research with Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharjee, Jones will be assessing the diversity and abundance of native and invasive woody species within Louisiana’s chenier forests. These coastal forests, which protect against erosion and hurricanes, are at risk of being lost forever due to invasive species, climate change, and increased human activities. Jones’s research goal is to understand the change dynamics of the chenier forests to inform efforts to conserve this ecologically unique and culturally significant community.

 


2021 Drew Tienken

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies
School: Undergraduate, Environmental Science and Political Science, University of Connecticut

Effects of Thin-Layer Placement Depth on Denitrification and Salt-Marsh Bacterial Communities

This summer Tienken will be conducting research in coastal Connecticut salt marshes. His project investigates the effects of “thin-layer placement,” a restoration method that mitigates sea level rise through its impact on dynamic salt marsh bacterial communities. Tienken is interested in sustainable wetland management and ecological restoration; he hopes to attend law school after graduation and work at the intersection of environmental science and policy.

Jointly funded by the Garden Club of Darien and Fairfield Garden Club, Zone II



2020 Isabel Acevedo

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

Summer Undergraduate Research Placement

Isabel Acevedo is an undergraduate at Brown University, studying environmental science with a focus on conservation science and policy. She will be continuing previous research on the phenology, or timing of periodic life cycle events, of non-native plant species. Her study focuses on phenological responses to climate change, such as shifts in the timing of budding, flowering, or fruiting, as well as differences in these responses among native and non-native plant species that may affect their relative success. Acevedo is interested in the application of alternative data sources like citizen science and herbarium specimens to the study of this the interplay between phenology, climate change, and non-native species introduction.

Jointly funded by the Garden Club of Darien and Fairfield Garden Club, Zone II

 



2020 Erica Collins

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

Ecological Field Research and Analysis of Milkweed & Pollinators

Erica Collins is an undergraduate pursuing a double major in biology and environmental science at the College of William & Mary. This summer she will conduct field research on the inter-annual variation of pollinators of common milkweed, helping to continue the work of the Milkweed Conservation Lab led by Dr. Harmony Dalgleish. It isn’t known how the abundance of different key milkweed pollinators changes from year to year and what effect this may have on its sexual reproduction. This gap in knowledge means that
 it is harder to devise a conservation plan for common milkweed. Collins also will conduct an experiment to investigate the impact of the number of flowers in an inflorescence on pollinator visitation rates. She aspires to work in the field of ecology, specifically botany or entomology.



2020 Rebecca Rooney

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

 Intra-crown Variation in Foliar Anatomy of Japanese Beech (Fagus crenata) Across a Latitudinal Gradient
 Rebecca Rooney is an undergraduate studying applied ecology and environmental science at Michigan Technological University. She is conducting an independent research project over the summer examining intracrown leaf plasticity of two genetic lineages of Japanese beech (Fagus crenata) across its native range in Japan. She is interested in how functional traits of leaves are modified in response to shifting physiological demands. Additionally, she hopes that comparing lineages within a species will provide insight into different 
leaf development strategies. Upon graduation, Rooney plans to pursue 
a Ph.D. in forest ecophysiology to research threshold responses in tree species under climate change.

 



2020 Sarah Yonker

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

 Hope College Summer Academic Research Program 


Sarah Yonker is a junior at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, majoring in biology with an emphasis on pre-veterinary medicine. This summer she will participate in the Hope College summer research program by assessing auditory and visual processing in the house sparrow, among other native and non-native bit species. Her research will involve both field and lab techniques, including recordings in the field, animal handling and capture, and physiological experiments in the lab, taking recordings of auditory and visual evoked potentials. Yonker will specifically be studying the impact of anthropogenic environmental disturbance on receiver sensory processing.

 



2019 Samia Shell

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

Samia Shell is a sophomore at St. John’s University in Queens, NY, with a double major in environmental science and French. This summer, she will travel to China with the Middlebury School of the Environment to conduct field research in sustainability, biological conservation, and pollution monitoring, using a case- study method to examine the local environment. The goal of her studies is to investigate these conservation issues on temporal and spatial scales, using interdisciplinary scienti c and humanitarian perspectives along with ethics to better address their historical, cultural, and economic context.

Co-funded by Garden Club of Darien and Fairfield Garden Club, Zone II



2019 Stacy Horton

The Garden Club of America Awards for Summer Environmental Studies

Stacy Horton is a sophomore attending Vanderbilt University majoring in Latin American studies and cinema and media arts with minors in sociology and anthropology. She will be attending a three-week  eld course in Brazil living with an indigenous group, the Kayapó. Horton will learn from members of the Protected Forest Association, conservation biologists, and non-governmental organization workers about what obstacles and opportunities lie ahead for sustainable Amazonian livelihoods. Additionally, she will learn ethnographic  eld methods and draw upon  lm studies to co-create several short  films.



 

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.