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GCA Scholarships Recipients: The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design


2018 Sara Jacobs

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

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

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

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.

2015 Emily Detrick

Emily Detrick is pursuing a Master’s degree in Horticulture at Cornell University. Her research will focus on the preparation of a best practices approach to gathering, documenting and curating historic garden collections. She will develop resources to guide the collection documentation process, including a video documentary. This will help institutions maximize not only internal efficacy but also their capacity to contribute to larger scale conservation efforts.

2014 Jessica Herlich

Jessica Herlich is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at th College of William and Mary. Her project, "Algonquain Gardens in Tidewater Virginia," will seek to understand the pre-colonial Chesapeake landscape through scientific study of the "complex floral and faunal design suited to diverse seasonal needs, . . . tracing similarities and differences in landscape and garden design throughout approximately 1600 years of time in coastal Virginia."

2013 Molly Briggs

School: University of Illinois
Molly Briggs, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will investigate Chicago’s west side parks and how popular imagery has influenced public perception and use of the parks, impacting their development to the present day. Her project links history, garden design and perception, giving it both long-term and immediate value.

2012 Fiona McAnally

School: University of Tennessee
A Master of Plant Science candidate at the University of Tennessee, will document the historical, cultural and botanical significance of vegetables of primarily European origin being grown in home gardens in Southern Appalachia. The database of information created will be a useful resource for historic home museums and farms, professional gardeners, home gardeners, ethno-botanists and chefs.

2011 Sara Safransky

School: University North Carolina Ph.D
Her objective is to understand the major processes shaping agrarian redevelopment in Detroit and the socio-ecological effects of the increasing number of farms and gardens in Americas urban landscapes.

2010 Jennifer Gorospe

School: University of California Santa Cruz - B.A. Biology & Environmental Studies San Jose State University - M.A.
"Her research will determine relationships between concentrations of heavy metals in garden soils and ethnicity, income level, and garden locations within San Francisco."
Project location: "San Francisco, CA"



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 2018, more than $308,400 was awarded to 65 scholars.

In its inaugural year, the Montine M. Freeman Scholarship in Native Plant Studies was awarded to Angela Merriken and Dr. Uma Venkatesh.

Read more about the new Scholarship and the recipients.