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GCA Scholarships Recipients: The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship


2018 Hallie Fischman

Hallie Fischman is a junior concentrating in ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University. She is currently studying the effects of Hurricane Irma on sand dunes at Sapelo Island, Georgia. Her project will specifically look at the role of sea oats (Uniola paniculata) in promoting dune recovery. Sea oats are commonly planted in the southeastern US for dune restoration, and this research will inform conservation practices.

2017 Soren Struckman

Soren Struckman is a sophomore biology major with a minor in computational and applied math and statistics at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He will participate in a summer research program in plant ecology where he will collect field data on common milkweed demographics and leaf chemistry at various sites across the state. He will use the data to create a computational/mathematical model of milkweed population dynamics to determine the affect of leaf chemistry on population growth. This area of research has strong implications for monarch butterfly conservation.

2017 Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her project is titled “Threats to the Forest-Associated Bees of New Jersey.” Her research investigates how past and current forest habitat loss affects native bee species that require forest habitat for floral and nesting resources. She will collect bees and measure floral resources at 36 forests in New Jersey that vary in forest age and fragmentation.

2017 Joni Baumgarten

Joni Baumgarten is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She is interested in learning how plant and soil communities interact. Her project investigates how soil nutrients and the surrounding plant community influence the association of the rare plant, Knieskern’s beaksedge (Rhynchospora knieskernii) with beneficial mycorrhizae. She will study numerous populations in wetlands throughout New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. The results of this project will add to the knowledge of the soil conditions favorable to Knieskern’s beaksedge, which can be used to help conservation and restoration efforts.

2016 Madison Barnes

Madison Barnes is a sophomore Environmental Science major with a minor in Economics at Duke University in Cary, North Carolina. As a member of the University of California-Davis Sustainable Cities of Northern Europe Program, she will travel to nine cities in Scandinavia/Northern Europe to learn how these cities have successfully incorporated nature into urban planning. Through research, discussion, field trips, and speaking with local experts, she expects to gain a better understanding of the differences in land use and resource laws, cultural differences, and how each urban area functions. Her project will focus on environmental lessons that can be applied to U.S. cities.

2015 Amanda Chang

Amanda Chang, is a junior at Princeton University in New Jersey, with an academic concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her research will integrate the knowledge of terrestrial fire ecology at the Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Florida, with existing theory of what controls the composition of aquatic communities and whether recent fires increase the amount of nutrients released by terrestrial plants and soils into ponds, and finally how this resource affects amphibian and invertebrate biomass.

2014 Samuel Hulsey

Samuel Hulsey is a junior at Middle Tennessee State University and he is from Lebanon, TN. He will participate in the Summer Ecosystem Experiences for undergraduates. He will travel to the Atlantic Forest in southern Brazil to learn field methods in Ecology and Conservation Biology. He will be studying the impact of climate change and human-environmental interaction and formulating viable, collaborative solutions to contemporary environmental dilemmas. Sam is also an Eagle Scout. 

2013 Jessica Robinson

School: University of North Carolina
Will study at the University of Montana this summer as part of the Flathead Lake Biological Station Summer Session. Beyond the coursework, she will be immersed in the environment, hiking over 10 miles each day, conducting field work, and will complete an individual project focusing on water quality.

2012 Courtney Hill

School: University of Arkansas
Is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas. She hopes to work in the area of sustainable building processes. Her program is entitled Denmark Institute of Study Abroad Sustainability Program which will give her the opportunity to examine the concepts and philosophies of sustainability.

2011 Grady Zuiderveen

School: Grand Valley undergraduate
Grady will run a molecular analysis of the common reed (Phragmites) and will seek to identify the importance of genotype in its distribution and abundance.



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.