Botany Students Land Research Grants

The research undertaken by the majority of our graduate students involves field and lab work. Fieldwork can be expensive, especially when foreign travel is involved. Some laboratory research is inexpensive (e.g., gathering data on the anatomical structures of plants), but other aspects of lab work, most notably gathering DNA data is costly. For these reasons, as well as acquiring grant writing skills can be an essential part of graduate education.

Naomi Fraga, a fifth-year doctoral student, received a $335 travel award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists to attend this year’s Botany 2011 meetings to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman, a second-year doctoral student, received an award from the Society of Systematic Biologists ($1,700) to support her research on members of the New World tropical genus Varronia (Boraginaceae or Borage Family). Additionally, Hasenstab-Lehman was one of just 28 recipients (from a pool of 75 international applicants) of a grant through the Systematics Research Fund (SRF). The prestigious award is administered by the UK’s Linnean Society and the Systematics Association and awardees are selected by a panel of six systematists who represent a wide range of conceptual interests and taxonomic groups.

Diana Jolles, a second-year doctoral student, who is studying the genus Pyrola in the Ericaceae (Heath Family), was the recipient of several grants from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the Mary DeDecker Award and the Northern California Botanists. Jolles is particularly interested in leaf anatomical and morphological variation among seemingly cryptic species within the genus that occur in western North America.

Carrie Kiel First year doctoral student studying Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family) was the recipient of a $2,500 Graduate Student Research Fellowship from the Torrey Botanical Society (TBS). Competition for this award was brisk as TBS only made two such awards for this year.

Saeideh Mashayekhi, who plans to complete her Ph.D. this year, was awarded a $500 grant from California Native Plant Society to study Allium, the subject of her doctoral dissertation. Mashayekhi also received an award of $496 from the S California Botanists to support research on ‘her onions.’

Sandy Namoff, who just completed her first year in the doctoral program, was accepted to the Organization for Tropical Studies (in Costa Rica) course in conservation and restoration genetics and offered a partial scholarship. She is currently in the Tropics studying, among other things, palms in their native habitat. Shortly after she repatriates to Southern California, she will be off to attend the Summer Genetics Institute at the University of Washington, with full scholarship support for travel and tuition.

jmle Zúñiga Doctoral student in his third year of the botany program, Zúñiga recently received a $5,500 award from the Garden Club of America to support his research on the genus Meliosma (in the plant family Sabiaceae). Zúñiga’s work is focused on the New World members of this tropical genus of trees, which occurs principally in the Neotropics. Little is known about the diversity of this group in the New World. The genus ranges widely from Mexico to Peru and into the Caribbean.


Read more about the RSABG botany program.