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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2023 Isabella Borrero

The Corliss Knapp Engle Scholarship in Horticulture
School: Master’s student, Agricultural Sciences, University of New Hampshire

The Role of the Microbiome in Natural Suppression of Pythium-Root Rot in Wood-Fiber Substrates

Borrero’s project will characterize wood-fiber based substrates for suppression of pythium in greenhouse production of chrysanthemums. In addition, characterization of diversity levels between fungal and bacterial populations present in grower-standard and wood-fiber based medias will be researched. To understand the role the microbial community function of the rhizosphere plays in producing disease-suppressive environments, Borrero will identify the genera of bacteria and fungi present in both pathogen-infested and noninfested wood-fiber and peat substrates.

2023 Adele Woodmansee

The Corliss Knapp Engle Scholarship in Horticulture
School: Master’s student, Soil and Crop Sciences, Cornell University

Adaptation and Change in the High Atlas Mountains: Learning from Agricultural Landscapes

Using interdisciplinary methodologies, Woodmansee’s research will evaluate how agricultural systems in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains are responding to climate variability. Woodmansee will document systems and, with input from local farmers, determine needs to support diverse cropping practices and develop adaptation strategies in the face of ongoing water shortages. Expanded research will also be conducted on agrobiodiversity and local seed networks in terraced agroecosystems of the High Atlas Mountains.


2023 Claire Taylor

The Corliss Knapp Engle Scholarship in Horticulture
School: Master’s student, Illustration and Design, The University of Arizona

Creative Documentation of Plants of the Tucson Area

Taylor, an artist who develops creative projects informed by environmental advocacy, aims to utilize illustration and art-making skills to support environmental, ecological, and climatic issues. Field studies in Tucson Mountain Park, The University of Arizona campus, and other green spaces in and near Tucson will provide Taylor with a better understanding of and connection to native plants. Taylor will pair watercolor painting with creative writing to convey the biology of plants and foster empathy for plant life.


2023 Kove Janeski

The Loy McCandless Marks Scholarship (an International Scholarship in Tropical Horticulture or Landscape Architecture)
School: Master’s student, Landscape Architecture, University of Washington

Landscape Design Work and Research in Tokyo

Janeski will intern at a small landscape architecture firm in Tokyo. Janeski will restore ecological function to a residential garden complex in Tokushima using only the resources available onsite. The design work will complement studies at Chiba University which will focus on local design, building practices, and cultural expression within landscapes.


2023 Oliver Hutchens

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Ecology and Biodiversity, Sewanee: The University of the South

Research with Atlanta Botanical Garden to Develop Conservation Horticulture Skills

Hutchens will continue previous conservation horticulture studies in a pilot partnership between Sewanee and Atlanta Botanical Garden. Projects will include cryopreservation of tissue samples and extraction of tissue cultures from woody plants, such as oaks and magnolias. In addition, Hutchens will conduct micropropagation of orchids and other rare plants. Working with several members of Atlanta Botanical Garden’s conservation and research team will strengthen Hutchens’ conservation horticulture foundation.


2023 Sophie Maffie

The Loy McCandless Marks Scholarship (an International Scholarship in Tropical Horticulture or Landscape Architecture)
School: Master’s student, Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia

Fibers of Resilience: Multiscalar Architectural Adaptability and Ethnobotanical Traditions of the Uru People

Maffie will explore the relationship between indigenous horticultural traditions and architectural knowledge as a form of self-determination and environmental resilience in Peru. Totora, a keystone species in Lake Titicaca that supports the architectural construction of the Uru’s living homes and archipelagic floating islands, will be studied. Maffie will administer ethnographic interviews, document landscape architectural details, draw on horticultural traditions, and conduct geospatial mapping to reveal otherwise hidden geographies. The project will promote an understanding of the international interdependence of horticulture and will disseminate the ways in which vernacular landscapes provide a form of resilience.


2023 Nidhi Vinod

The Corliss Knapp Engle Scholarship in Horticulture
School: PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles

Using Physiological and Anatomical Traits to Assess Drought Tolerance of Dominant Palm Trees in California

Vinod will study plant adaptation to adverse conditions and climate. Measuring anatomical, nutrient, hydraulic, physiological, and size-related palm plant traits at Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden and California Botanic Garden, Vinod’s findings will provide insight on how palms survive and adapt. Data will inform plant breeders, horticulturists, and conservationists of optimal traits to enhance plant adaptation to droughts and heatwaves.


2023 Jessica Keatly

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Environmental Science, California State University San Marcos

Camera Trap Survey of Insect Pollinators of Encinitas Baccharis (Baccharis vanessae) in San Diego, California

Keatly’s research will explore a novel data collection method on pollinator interactions within the coastal sage scrub habitat in San Diego. Utilizing automated camera traps, Keatly will collect large data sets on possible pollinators of four Baccharis vanessae specimens within San Diego Botanic Garden's native plant section. Data will be analyzed through deep-learning, object- tracking software to facilitate easier and more accurate identification of insects. Data will provide insight on conservation methods for the federally threatened Baccharis vanessae.

2023 Joshua Tebow

The Corliss Knapp Engle Scholarship in Horticulture
School: Master’s student, Horticulture and Controlled Environments Agriculture, University of Arkansas

Evaluating a Process Control Approach to Managing Nutrients in Recirculating Hydroponic Solutions

Tebow will continue thesis research on improving root-zone nutrition management practices for greenhouse crops. Focusing on nutrient and pH management with hydroponic and flowering crops, Tebow’s findings will allow growers to produce quality crops while minimizing resource waste. Additional studies will quantify temperature and light effects on crop timing and quality of containerized edibles, including the dwarf tomato. 


2023 Isabella Colucci

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Plant Science, Cornell University

Evaluation of Cornell Botanic Gardens Current Holdings of the Class of 1901 Nut Tree Collection in the F.R. Newman Arboretum 

Colucci seeks to develop a curatorial plan for future development of Cornell’s Class of 1901 Nut Tree Collection. Collaborating with Cornell Botanic Garden’s Director of Horticulture and experts from the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium and the New York Nut Growers Association, Colucci’s research will include climate change, biological significance, vulnerability, and resiliency. Data will increase conservation and research value of the collection, improve educational opportunities, and pave the way for accreditation through the American Public Gardens Association Plant Collections Network.


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Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 29 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2024, $459,000 was awarded to 100 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Instagram for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through Garden Club of America scholars. Browse the scholarship offerings.

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