Torrey Botanical Society Graduate Student Research Fellowship

The Torrey Botanical Society supports student research with three annual awards: $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000. These amounts will be awarded to the first, second, and third-place applicants, respectively, as judged by members of the selection committee. Graduate students of plant science who are members of the Society are eligible to apply for an award. This award must be used to help pay the costs of field work. Applications will be judged by a committee of the Council of the Society, and recipients will be announced before 1 April each year.

Proposals must include: 1) title page with proposal title, applicant’s name, address, and e-mail address; 2) body of the proposal of no more than two pages; 3) literature cited page; 4) budget, including brief justification for each item; 5) a current C.V.; and 6) a letter from the major professor detailing the current status of the applicant and his/her qualifications. The proposals should be written using Times New Roman font, 12-point, with pages having 1-inch top and bottom margins, and 1.25-inch side margins. The deadline for applications is 15 January each year. Please send all inquiries to

At the end of the calendar year of support, a non-solicited report of one paragraph should be sent by the award recipient to the Chair of the Grants and Awards Committee. Recipients of research fellowships should consider publishing results of the research in the Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society.

Previous awardees


First place ($2,500): Katherine E. Eisen, Cornell University. “Are differences in floral phenotypes associated with differences in pollinator visitation? A test of character displacement in Clarkia (Onagraceae)”
Second place ($1,500): Ms. Genevieve Grace Alexander, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. “Long-term effects of invasive earthworms on understory plant diversity in sugar maple-basswood forests”
Third place ($1,000, two prizes): Anthony Christopher Cullen, Department of Biological Sciences, Rutgers University. “The great garden escape: the role of pollination and hybridization in invasion for two ornamental viburnums”, and Lydia Marie Cuni, Florida International University. “Drivers of species composition and diversity in pine rockland-hardwood hammock ecosystem transitional gradients”


Rebecca Stubbs, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. “Specialized adaptations and restricted niche preferences of cold-adapted saxifrages (Micranthes, Saxifragaceae) provide new insight into the effects of climate change on the Arctic flora.” ($2,500). Brian Park, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary, Yale University. “The phylogeography and demographic history of the hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides).” ($1,500). Max Piana, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, Rutgers University. “Recruitment Limitation in Urban Forest Fragments and Afforestation Sites.” ($1,000). Stephanie Schmiege, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University. “Physiological Responses of Tropical Conifers to Climate-induced Drought Stress.” ($1,000).


Jennifer Blake-Mahmud, Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution, Rutgers University. “Temporal, spatial, and environmental dimensions of variable sex expression in striped maple” ($2,500). Ms. Sandra Hoffberg, Department of Genetics, University of Georgia. “A Tale of Two Cities: Characterizing the spread of kudzu (Pueraria montana) and wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) in urban areas of their invasive range” ($1,500). Ms. Elizabeth Spriggs, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University. “Phylogeny, Phylogeography, and trait evolution in the Viburnum dentatum species complex” ($1,000).  Mr. Danny Haelewaters, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University. “Evolution and Speciation in a Fungus-Insect System: Hesperomyces (Fungi, Laboulbeniales) and the Lady Beetles” ($1,000).


Fay-Wei Li of Duke University for his project Investigating the origin of a chimeric photoreceptor that is linked to the modern fern diversification ($2500), Ms. Brittany L. Sutherland of the University of Virginia for her project Cytogeography of the Campanula rotundifolia polyploid complex in North America. ($1500), and Ms. Julia Dupin of University of Colorado-Boulder for her project Biogeography, dispersal and trait evolution in the Datureae clade (Solanaceae) ($1000).


Jacob Landis of University of Florida for his project Evolution of flower color and its significance in Polemoniaceae ($2500), Mr. Gregory Stull of University of Florida for his project Phylogeny, fossil record, and biogeographic history of Icacinaceae: implications for tropical plant biogeography ($1500), and Ms. Catherine Rushworth of Duke University for her project Insights into the origin and persistence of apomixis in the Boechera holboellii species complex. ($1000)


Kristen Hasenstab-Lehman of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for her project Testing adaptive radiation in the dry tropics: A phylogenetic approach to biogeography, inflorescence evolution, and hydraulic traits in the genus Varronia (Cordiaceae, Boraginales). ($2500)


Carrie Kiel of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for her project Unraveling Relationships Among the Morphologically Diverse and Taxonomically Complex New World Justicioids (Acanthaceae) ($2500), and Ms. Emily Sessa of University of Wisconsin for her project Phylogeny, Reticulate Evolution, and Recurrent Polyploid Speciation in North American Dryopteris (Dryopteridaceae). ($1000)


Robert Laport of University of Rochester for his project Polyploidy and Reproductive Isolation in the North American Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata, Zygophyllaceae) ($2500), Vinson Doyle of The New York Botanical Garden/City University of New York for his project Population studies of a cranberry pathogen, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (Ascomycota, Sordariomycetes), in North America ($1000), and Mary Heskel of Columbia University for her project Response of Plant Respiration Physiology to Climate Change in the Arctic. ($1000)


Posy Busby of Stanford University for her project Assessing Broad-Scale Patterns in Susceptibility to Beech Bark Disease ($2500) and Mr. James Lendemer of The New York Botanical Garden for his project Assessing the Biological Diversity of the Genus Lepraria s.l. (Lichenized Ascomycetes, Stereocaulaceae) in Southeastern North America. ($2500)


Naomi Fraga of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden for her project Biogeography and population Genetics of the Mimulus palmeri Clade ($2500) and Mr. Jonathan Myers of Louisiana State University for his study of Ecological mechanisms maintaining plant species diversity: Seed dispersal limitation and environmental filtering in high-diversity pine savannas. ($2000)


Tara Massad of Tulane University for her project Improvements in tropical reforestation through an understanding of plant secondary chemistry ($1000) and Ms. Diana Jolles of The Ohio State University for her project Phylogeny and biogeography of the Pyrola picta species complex (Pyroleae: Monotropoideae: Ericaceae). ($2,500)