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GCA Scholarships Recipients: The Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany


2018 Katherine Farley

Katherine Farley is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research is concerned with the emerging market for wild-simulated ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and other medicinal herbs grown in Appalachia. She is particularly interested in how growers acquire knowledge about the operation of wild-simulated systems, as well as how value-added qualities like wild or wild-simulated adhere to products as they travel through medicinal plant supply chains. Farley’s research has implications for medicinal plant conservation in Appalachia because wild populations of many species are under threat due to overharvesting and habitat loss.

2018 Grady Zuiderveen

Grady Zuiderveen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Pennsylvania State University.
His research is focused on the habitat, chemistry, and genetics of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), which is a medicinal herb native to the forests of Appalachia. He will be working to determine the in uence of habitat conditions and genetics
on the expression of the alkaloids that are associated with its medicinal value.  e results of this work will help inform decisions about the conservation of the species through cultivation.

2018 Amanda Thiel

Amanda Thiel is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology at Washington State University. She conducts research in Guatemalan Q'eqchi' Maya communities of various sizes—from rural village to semi-urban. Her research seeks to understand how acculturation and cultural values a ect ethnobotanical medical knowledge and practice in these communities.  iel’s master’s thesis, based on  eldwork in a Q'eqchi' Maya village, was centered around utilitarian aspects of local ethnobotany and the variation in cultivation of medicinal plants in village home gardens.

2016 Amy E. Snively-Martinez

Amy E. Snively-Martinez is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Washington State University. Her research will focus on medicinal plants used to treat diabetes in Guatemala and to study local knowledge about the identification and description of herbal preparations most commonly used to treat this disease. Little research has studied the use of medicinal plants by rural indigenous communities in Guatemala to treat diabetes despite its importance as a biodiversity hotspot and high population of indigenous peoples. Research will take place in two regions of Guatemala, a mangrove ecosystem in the Pacific Lowlands and a humid forested ecosystem of the Western Highlands.

2016 Chase Mason

Chase Mason is a PhD and Katharine H. Putnam Fellow in Plant Science at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. An ecophysiologist, his research focuses on the evolution of plant functional traits, plant defenses, and secondary metabolites. He will study the phytochemical diversity across 29 species of wild willows genus (Salix). Salicylates, in the form of willow bark extracts, are among the oldest known plant-derived medicinal compounds and rank among the most consumed medicines globally. This research will characterize variation in secondary metabolites in a cross-section of global willow diversity, with focus on the evolution of salicylates, flavonoids, and other polyphenolic compounds.

2016 Daniella Allevato

Daniella Allevato is a PhD candidate in the Department of Plant Biology at Cornell University. She is researching the evolution of phytochemical diversity in the genus (Pilocarpus) using a combined phylogenetic and environmental analysis. This research will aid in a better understanding of the factors contributing to the metabolite pathways present in (Pilocarpus). As the center of diversity of this genus is in Brazil, this past year she has been collecting species all across Brazil. In collaboration with two professors in Brazil she will continue analysis of alkaloids and coumarins, as well as study the genetic diversity among populations of (Pilocarpus).

2015 Matthew Bond

Matthew Bond is a Ph.D. student in the Botany Department of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.  He will conduct ethno-botanical fieldwork in a less-studied region of the Solomon Islands, North Malaita, to study how the local people select, prepare, and consume plants for medicine. Mathew has made previous visits to build relationships, obtain and apply for permits, and learn local languages. He will be collecting samples and will analyze medicinal plant harvesting practices of traditional healers’ to test if the local people are using the plants and plant parts that are most effective for treating disease. 

2015 Tristesse Burton

Tristesse Burton is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy which is defined as the study of medicines derived from natural sources. She will identify the active compounds of three American Indian plants that can be used to improve women’s health, primarily for menopause, cancer, and inflammation.  Her research project will also verify the traditional and current usage of these plants through ethno-botanical studies.  Currently, there is limited scientific information supporting the use of American Indian botanicals for women’s health. 

2014 Brittany Graf

Brittany Graf, a Rutgers University student, will investigate Ecuadorian food crops to evaluate potential medical or health benefits. She will conduct workshops in four regions of Ecuador in collaboration with a local university professor using 20 undergraduates and advanced high school students at the different sites offereing them research training. 

2014 Natalie Christian

Natalie Christian attends Indiana University. She proposes to harness natural antibiotic properties in single celled fungi that symbiotically live with host plants. These fungi represent some of the most complex and potent chemicals known from plants. Natalie will do her research at a field station in Panama, as the native chocolate tree is a known harborer of various single celled fungi. 



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.