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GCA Scholarships Recipients: The Catherine H. Beattie Fellowship in Conservation Horticulture


2017 Jordan T. Wood

Jordan T. Wood is a master’s student in the Program in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden, where he studies conservation biology, population genetics, and living collections management. He will research threatened North American oak species to characterize and compare the genetic diversity of wild populations and living collections held in botanic gardens. The resulting genetic data may be used by botanic gardens to increase their capacity to meet conservation goals of threatened plants.

2017 Yasmin A. Khan

Yasmin A. Khan is a master’s student in biology at Halmos College of Natural Science and Oceanography at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her project is titled “A Comparative Metagenomic Study of the Microbiome of an Endangered Florida Lupine Species (Lupinus aridorum).” Her research will compare the soil, root nodule, and flower microbiomes of the endangered L. aridorum species to the commonly found species L. diffuses. She aims to provide significant insight into the complex dynamics that contribute to the species’ growth and development. Her project serves as a contribution to the plant conservation initiative at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida.

2016 Brandy Rogers Riekert

Brandy Rogers Riekert is a master's student in the Integrative Biology program at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. Her project is titled, “Population Genetics and Host Specificity of a Rare Parasitic Plant, (Cuscuta harperi).” Her research will focus on population genetics and host specificity in Harper's dodder (Cuscuta harperi) which is endemic to Georgia and Alabama. Through genetic research, greenhouse studies, and biogeographic analysis, additional understanding into how, when, where, and why this species survives will be determined.

2016 Lynnaun Johnson

Lynnaun Johnson is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He is researching the carbon nutrition and mycorrhizal fungi relationships of the Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii), an endangered, leafless, epiphytic orchid native to Florida. His research will provide much needed data about the nutrient needs and fungal relationships of this rare and charismatic orchid species found in Florida’s swamps. This study will provide knowledge for future conservation initiatives of epiphytic orchids.

2016 Tracy Cook

Tracy Cook is a first year master’s candidate in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Alabama A & M University and Assistant Curator at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Her research involves the identification of topographical, edaphic, and ecological variables that limit where the endangered Huntsville Vase Vine (Clematis morefieldii) grows naturally. Quantitative evaluation and spatial analysis will be used to predict the locations of unknown populations, clarify habitat requirements, and provide a baseline from which the effects of land management may be assessed.

2015 Chelsea N. Miller

Chelsea N. Miller is a Master’s candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Chelsea’s research focuses on factors promoting rarity in state-endangered understory herbs of the genus Trillium in eastern Tennessee and surrounding regions. She is comparing ant-seed dispersal and germination requirements between rare and common congeners in an effort to determine if differences in these factors lead to rarity in certain species. This research will inform conservation efforts and can be placed in the context of global change

2015 Natali Miller

Natali Miller is a Master’s degree student at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She will collect and analyze data from three populations of a federally listed plant, telephus spurge (Euphorbia telephioides), to determine if each population is declining, increasing or stable. She will also conduct pollen supplementation experiments in order to assess if female plants in those three populations receive insufficient quantities or quality of pollen for seed production also known as pollen limitation. Natali’s main goal is to become an expert in population ecology and help quantify plant conservation goals and objectives.

2014 Renee Fortner

Renee Fortner is a Master's degree student at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. Her research project is titled: "The Reproductive Ecology of the Federally Endangered Cooley's Meadowrue (Thalictrum cooleyi ahles) in Eastern North Carolina." She will study the endangered species and seeks to investigate matters of critical concern in supporting seed set and the genetic structure of small populations. 

2014 Ashley Montgomery

Ashley Montgomery is a Master's degree student at Western Carolina University in Culowhee, NC. The title of her study is "Predicting Threatened Orchid (Isotria medioloides) (Pursh) Raf Habitat in Sourthern Appalacian Region Using Maxent." Her project will use quantitative evaluation and modeling techniques to clarify the exact habitat requirements of the federally threatened orchid. 

2013 Caitlin Lawrence

School: Oregon State University, Corvallis
Is a Master’s degree candidate at Oregon State University, Corvallis. Her research project is entitled “Restoring the Endangered Golden Paintbrush Castilleja levisecta: Effects of biodiversity and nutrient availability on reintroduction success.” Her project seeks to investigate restoration management for this genus of poorly understood hemiparasitic plants which partially depend on supplemental moisture and nutrients from connections they form with the plants around them.



Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The GCA offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships, awarding more than $330,000 to 86 scholars in 2017.

For example, the GCA Fellowship in Ecological Restoration offers an $8,000 annual grant for graduate study and research at a leading accredited university in the United States. Fields of study of past recipients have ranged from forestry to applied plant sciences to ecology and evolutionary biology.

Read more about the four 2017 recipients.