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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2024 Sean Bradley

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: undergraduate, Biology and Environmental Science, La Salle University

Field Survey and Collection of Native Legumes and Associated Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria Goal

Bradley’s research will directly contribute to collected scientific understanding of legume-bacteria relationships.


2024 Zoe Riggs

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: undergraduate, Environmental Sciences, Montreat College

Assessment of Wetland Communities in the Peruvian Amazon

Riggs’s research seeks to determine if there is greater diversity of species in sites with more complex vegetative structure. 


2023 Madeline Roubik

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, Biology, University of Northern Iowa

Survey of Vegetation and Wild Bee Communities in Reconstructed Prairies in Northeastern Iowa

Roubik’s research will provide data on prairies and pollinators to mitigate negative effects agriculture may have. Field research will be based on prairie demographics, including plant species abundance, size, and viability; data collected from local bee species including size, quantity, and genome data; and plant identification. Roubik will also compose a pollen library for common prairie plants to create a baseline of understanding for restored prairies and pollinator habitats in northeastern Iowa.


2023 Peter Falb

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan

Impacts of Accelerated Snowmelt on Plant and Fungal Phenology and Nutrient Cycling at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

Falb will examine how accelerated snowmelt and altered snowpack depth impact plant and fungal phenology. Working at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory with experimental snowmelt manipulation, Falb will collect root/fungal ingrowth cores, soil samples, and nutrient resin cores to analyze belowground biomass and nutrient flux as well as microbial/fungal community makeup. Results will predict the amount of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus retained and lost in the systems. In addition, findings will show how changing snowmelt timing might impact plant and fungal phenology, abundance, and composition.


2022 Mallory Mead

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Preferences of Petal-Cutting Bees

Mead’s undergraduate research thesis will study a Pacific Northwest wildflower, farewell-to-spring, and the leafcutter bees that harvest the flower’s petals for their nests. By comparing leafcutter bee usage of native subspecies of farewell-to-spring to its nonnative subspecies and cultivars, Mead seeks to draw conclusions about the potential importance of planting native varieties of farewell-to-spring for ecological gardening and restoration to facilitate pollinator-plant interaction.

2021 Autumn Banks

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, Biological Science, University of Pittsburgh

Independent Research in the Carson Lab at University of Pittsburgh

Banks studies seed banks and how they affect the plant population above ground. This summer she will collect soil samples to gauge seed quantity and diversity, studying how those seeds contribute to the plant population in an area that has been disturbed by windstorms, logging, and grazing. This research will give ecologists a better understanding of how forests regrow after major disturbances, and how the diversity of these plants can contribute to the animal population and the overall health of society.


2021 Sebastian McRae

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship
School: Undergraduate, Environmental Science and Sustainability, Allegheny College

Field Studies in Costa Rica

McRae’s study focuses on integrating humans into the landscape with sustainable agriculture, energy, water, and community architecture paradigms, utilizing frameworks like permaculture and holistic management. This summer he will travel to Atenas, Costa Rica, to study agroforestry and sustainable agriculture with the School for Field Studies. McRae is very excited to be on the ground with the School for Field Studies faculty and find his niche in the research projects that are ongoing in the surrounding rainforest landscape.


2020 Julia Ditto

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Tree Growth & Abundance in Arctic Alaska

Julia Ditto is a junior at Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, studying environmental science in preparation for a career in field science and scientific illustration. This summer she will join an ongoing research project in the Brooks Mountain Range, observing the advancement of white spruce (Picea glauca) treeline in arctic Alaska. Ditto will collect data on spruce seedling density and vegetation growth while hiking and pack-rafting through the remote Alaskan wilderness. She will also take on the role of “expedition artist,” carrying a watercolor kit to record the journey and communicate the project through illustration.


2019 Gabby Ross

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Gabby Ross is a sophomore at the University of Tampa. This summer she will spend a month in the Serengeti with The School for Field Studies, an independent study abroad organization, where she will focus on the biophysical and socio-cultural in uences on the ecosystems of Tanzania. She will record animal behaviors, wildlife consensus data, and various quantitative/qualitative observations that will augment The School for Field Studies’ ongoing research. Her goal is to determine how to effectively use natural resources and sustainable practices to bene t both the economies of the local communities and the conservation of the region’s wildlife.

Funded by MAM-NWJ Foundation, Inc.

2019 Autum Auxier

The Mary T. Carothers Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship

Autum Auxier is a junior concentrating in zoology at Ball State University, Muncie, IN. She will participate in a marine biology summer research program aimed at converting Algoa Bay, South Africa, into a Marine Protected Area. Auxier will collect gut samples from various species through the trophic levels for marine plastic analysis. Her work will include deploying and analyzing the footage from Baited Remote Underwater Videos, participating in marine stranding surveys, and attaching GPS trackers to adult African penguins. Her data will be combined with many other projects having similar goals.

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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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