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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2024 Ben Barsotti Scott

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design
School: PhD candidate in Geography, Rutgers University

Welcome to the Most Polluted Waterway in America: Reclaiming Small Sites in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary

Scott will compile a map and survey of these sites. Results will provide critical geographic and political information that can be used in future development of water access points for boaters, gardeners, and scientists.


2024 Samantha Rosa

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design
School: PhD candidate in Ecology, Northwestern University/University of Maryland

Community-Driven Science: Garden Based Curriculum and Programming for Equity in Science Education

Rosa will use experience as an educator to develop curriculum and garden-based programming that connects K-8 students to the Chicago Botanic Garden and to its Plant Conservation Science Center.

2023 Imani Canton

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design
School: PhD candidate in Kinesiology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tending to Our Roots to Increase Our Wellness (TRIOWell): A Community Gardening Intervention

Canton’s eight-week project will examine the impact of a community gardening intervention on physical activity levels and psychological well-being among middle-aged African American women. Participants will garden with a horticultural educator and attend educational workshops that cover culturally relevant topics, including the history of gardening among African Americans and environmental activism among African Americans. Canton hypothesizes that gardening sessions and workshops will positively influence adherence to the intervention.


2022 Alicia J Fahrner

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Reimagining Historic Garden Beds at the Hilltop House of Dorothy Riester

Following a passion for plants, ecology, design, and sustainability, Fahrner works as a garden intern at the historic Hilltop House and Studio in Cazenovia, New York. Fahrner is reimagining several garden beds through the artful and experimental lens of the original garden designer, Dorothy Riester, but with a modern ecological twist. Fahrner will use a process defined by site analysis and observation as well as historical and biographical research, and the work will be documented through writing, sketching, collage, photography, painting, and digital renderings.

2022 Sierra S Roark

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Green Gold: Plant Use, Identity, and Power in the Chesapeake ca. 1600–1800

Combining archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnobotany to understand the intersections of human-environmental relationships, well-being, and manifestations of identity and power, Roark will conduct an archaeological and historical investigation of plant use in the Chesapeake Tidewater, AD 1600–1800. Roark will examine communities of practice, landscape management, and garden design among the diverse populations that lived in the Virginia and Maryland Tidewater.

2021 Anna Bierbrauer

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design
School: PhD candidate in Design and Planning, University of Colorado Denver

Erasure and Acceptance of Aridity in the American West

Bierbrauer’s research combines political ecology, environmental history, and critical physical geography with the landscape architecture and planning professions, to understand historical and current equity issues related to water and vegetation in cities of the American West. Using geospatial methods, archives, and interviews, she will examine how cities have suppressed aridity in the past. As water resources become strained and climate patterns more extreme, this will contribute to an understanding of how cities can re-introduce aridity with a lens of equity and environmental justice.


2020 Aja Grande

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Gardens On-land and Undersea: Planting Native Hawaiian Revival

Aja Grande is a Ph.D. candidate 
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of History, Anthropology, Science Technology & Society. She is an ethnographer of civic infrastructures and land ecologies as spaces of subject formation. She accounts for the 
living history found among built environments in 20th and 21stcentury Hawaii and across the United States. As a scholar who works across various forms of media, Grande embraces writing, documentary filmmaking, and multimedia exhibitions for community engagement. Her dissertation examines how intimate knowledge of earthly stewardship, ranging from the mountains to the sea, recovered spaces of land to ameliorate the ecological scars of US colonial infrastructure projects.

2020 Yoni Angelo Carnice

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Eden of the Hinterlands: Reclaiming Asian-American Garden History

Yoni Angelo Carnice is a master’s student in landscape architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His project will contribute to the growing body of knowledge surrounding Asian American garden history through a focus on Cayuga Park in San Francisco, California, and its retired gardener, Demetrio Braceros. Carnice is particularly interested in artists like Derek Jarman (deceased) and Jamaica Kincaid, who use gardens to study and express
 a personal relationship to history, mortality, and community. Carnice’s work will result in a printed dossier, including a collection of the design research conducted.

2019 Lizabeth Wardzinski

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

Lizabeth Wardzinski is a PhD candidate in design at North Carolina State University. Wardzinski focuses her research on the Tennessee Valley Authority as a mechanism for shaping areas of the American consciousness as well as the landscape. In her dissertation, Wardzinski hopes to demonstrate how popular notions of conservation and the wilderness were vital to promoting the TVA mission of regional planning and decentralization. Focusing on the cultivation of the tourism industry by the TVA as a development model, Wardzinski contrasts recreational model-planning typologies of the TVA with development models of industrial and residential planning.

2018 Sara Jacobs

The Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design

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.

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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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