Botanical Society of America Awards Recipients 2023

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 awards provided by the Botanical Society of America. Here we provide recognition for outstanding efforts and contributions to the science of botany. We thank you for your support of these programs. 

Given by SECTIONS   Given by SECTIONS


Student Presentation and Poster Awards

Student Travel Awards (STA)

Awards for Established Scientists

Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America
The "Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America" is the highest honor our Society bestows. Each year, the award committee solicits nominations, evaluates candidates, and selects those to receive an award. Awardees are chosen based on their outstanding contributions to the mission of our scientific Society. The committee identifies recipients who have demonstrated excellence in basic research, education, public policy, or who have provided exceptional service to the professional botanical community, or who may have made contributions to a combination of these categories.

Dr. Thomas Givnish, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Steven Manchester, Florida Museum of Natural History

Dr. Thomas Givnish is an internationally renowned scientist who is acclaimed for his “sharp intellect, breadth of knowledge, creativity, and productivity.” He is known for his unique interdisciplinary research and for his breadth of expertise, making major contributions to such diverse areas as ecophysiology, systematics, biomechanics, plant-animal interactions, adaptive radiation, and species diversification and extinction. Over the past 51 years, Dr. Givnish has authored, coauthored, or edited more than 160 papers, books, and book chapters, which have been cited more than 21,000 times. And he has sustained substantial funding from the National Science Foundation to support his research for many years.

Tom has made foundational contributions in the fields of ecology and systematics: “his work on the evolution of monocots, bromeliads, and carnivorous plants, among other groups, has been equally as transformative as his experimental and theoretical studies on plant functional traits, plant height, leaf form, and photosynthetic physiology.” Tom’s early work in plant ecology was grounded in his keen interest and background in mathematics and economics. He developed mathematical models inspired by economic theory to explore and explain the adaptive nature of leaf form and plant height. He was an early adopter of molecular techniques for studying ecology and evolution, and he blended his work on adaptation with phylogenetic resources, applying the concept of adaptative radiation to plants. His 1997 book Molecular Evolution and Adaptive Radiation, co-edited with Ken Sytsma, remains authoritative. His work in phylogenetic systematics, and his embrace of new methods and approaches, has kept him at the forefront of developments in the field. Tom’s focus on monocots has transformed our understanding of the evolutionary history and higher-level relationships of that group. And he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Tom has immense and infectious enthusiasm for both fieldwork and the lab, and his knowledge of plant diversity, natural history, and ecology is encyclopedic and insightful. He shares his knowledge and passion for plants with his students and colleagues and reaches beyond the University as well through the “Wednesday Night @ the Lab” televised outreach talks, presentations to naturalist and gardening groups, and engagement with local conservation groups. He is also involved in the DNR Citizens Advisory Board for Wisconsin Dells Natural Area and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Recovery Team for the Karner Blue butterfly. He is a botanist well-deserving of the BSA Distinguished Fellow Award.


Dr. Steven Manchester is one of the world’s leading specialists in fossil plants, whose research has had “a profound impact on the directions in the scientific exploration of angiosperm diversification and biogeographic patterns, particularly through the Cenozoic.” Through extensive field work throughout the world, including in the western US, eastern Asia, India, Europe, and Panama, and through careful study, he has documented some of the earliest known fruits for several families of flowering plants, including the banana (Musaceae), kiwi (Actinidiaceae), grape (Vitaceae), and walnut (Juglandaceae) families. Dr. Manchester often works at the “interface of the living and the dead, working closely with angiosperm systematists to integrate fossils into phylogenetic trees of living species.” He also has worked with molecular systematists to provide fossil calibration points for molecular dating analyses. His broad network of international collaborations has included researchers from all career stages and backgrounds, and he is known to be generous with his time and ideas.

In addition to his impressive publication record, his many invited presentations and research grants from NSF and other funding sources, Steve has also been deeply engaged in public outreach engaging amateur collectors and students in his field campaigns. He is described by several colleagues to be hard-working, with a passion for field work, which he considers essential to paleobotanical research. He is also described as kind, thoughtful, modest, having a great sense of humor, and intensely dedicated to student training and mentorship.

Steve is a life member of both the Botanical Society of America and the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. He has held leadership roles in the Paleobotanical Section of BSA and the International Organisation of Palaeobotany (IOP), in which he served as President for many years. He is a Foreign Representative Member of The Gondwana Geological Society based in Nagpur, India, and is active in the Association of Wood Anatomists and the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists. He has served on his department’s Natural History Advisory Committee and chairs his institution’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) Committee, which recently developed an endowed scholarship fund for graduate students of minoritized groups and an internship program for students from groups that are underrepresented in science in the US. He is a great model for service to the professional community and well deserving of the BSA’s Distinguished Fellow Award.


Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award (BSA in association with the Teaching Section and Education Committee)

Dr. Cynthia Jones, University of Connecticut
Dr. Eddie Watkins
, Colgate University


Dr. Cynthia “Cindi” Jones is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut and is an internationally renowned expert in plant structure and function. She is widely recognized by her colleagues and students as an outstanding teacher, dedicated to student learning and enthusiastically sharing her love of botany.

Cindi’s enthusiasm for plants, unique teaching philosophy, and compassion for students has captivated learners at both the undergraduate and graduate level—and beyond. She is an innovator in teaching through her use of live plants (the greenhouse at UConn she helped manage and support includes over 3,000 species of plants from diverse biomes around the world), current research topics and techniques in botany, state-of-the-art technology (including a cross-disciplinary approach using cell phones, microscopes, iPads, specially designed software, and large-screen monitors), an active teaching style, and commitment to continually re-evaluate the effectiveness of her own teaching. “The central tenet of Dr. Jones’s teaching is ‘ask the organism’.”

As part of her educational mission, Dr. Jones has also created “Nature Rx at UConn” (see, which includes resources for spending time in nature to enhance well-being and mental health. She reached out to colleagues from numerous disciplines across the campus and to local and state agencies. As a result, research on the health benefits of time spent in nature is now being done at the University. Her legacy for botany extends beyond the classroom through her service to the BSA where she has held multiple roles in the Society, including serving as President in 2020-2021, and as an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Botany, 2011-2020. She has encouraged students to get actively involved in the BSA and created opportunities for students to attend and participate in the annual Botany meetings—and supported them at every stage. She is well deserving of the Bessey Award.


Dr. James “Eddie” Watkins is a Full Professor in the Department of Biology at Colgate University and is a world-renowned authority on fern gametophyte physiology and ecology. Eddie has garnered national and international recognition in his field of research while simultaneously becoming respected and beloved for providing undergraduates with the highest quality mentorship. In the last 20 years, he has cultivated a resurgence of interest in fern gametophyte biology within the botanical community and become a pillar of the fern community by eliciting excitement for ferns in peers and students, producing numerous publications with students, and publishing popular online content that is accessible to a broad audience.

In 2008, Eddie and fellow fern expert Robbin Moran (NYBG) revived the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) sponsored specialty course: Tropical Ferns and Lycophytes in Costa Rica, which had not been offered since 1967. Since reviving this course, they have held it every 2-3 years and have enjoyed great success in generating interest in ferns generally, especially in early career researchers from all over the world, and particularly in Latin America.

Eddie is an innovative, passionate, and inspiring educator-scholar, and he has changed the trajectory of students at Colgate and around the world to have a greater appreciation of plants. In his classroom and laboratory, whether at Colgate, the OTS in Costa Rica, or elsewhere, Eddie uses the most effective and innovative pedagogical methods. For years he has paid significant attention to improving the quality of education and learning outcomes, and his success in this area has led him to take on the role of Director at the Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research (CLTR) at Colgate University. As Director of the CLTR, Eddie manages the faculty development program to train Colgate faculty members in the most innovative pedagogical approaches available today. He is a mentor to the next generation of Botanists: he brings undergraduates to the Botany meeting every summer and supports them as they present, helps them grow their professional networks, and does everything he can to make them feel welcome and comfortable. He is well deserving of the Bessey Award.


Impact Award 
The Botanical Society of America Impact Award recognizes a BSA member or group of members who have significantly contributed to advancing diversity, accessibility, equity, and/or inclusion in botanical scholarship, research and education.

No award in 2023


BSA Corresponding Members Award

Corresponding members are distinguished senior scientists who have made outstanding contributions to plant science and who live and work outside of the United States of America. Corresponding members are nominated by the Council, which reviews recommendations and credentials submitted by members, and elected by the membership at the annual BSA business meeting. Corresponding members have all the privileges of life-time members. 

Dr. Gonzalo Nieto Feliner, Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid


Darbaker Prize

The Darbaker Prize in Phycology is given each year in memory of Dr. Leasure K. Darbaker. It is presented to a resident of North America for meritorious work in the study of microscopic algae based on papers published in English by the nominee during the last two full calendar years. This year The Darbaker Award for meritorious work on microscopic algae is presented to:

No Award in 2023


Donald R. Kaplan Memorial Lecture

Erika Edwards, Yale University


The Grady L. and Barbara D. Webster Structural Botany Publication Award
This award was established in 2006 by Dr. Barbara D. Webster, Grady’s wife, and Dr. Susan V. Webster, his daughter, to honor the life and work of Dr. Grady L. Webster. After Barbara's passing in 2018, the award was renamed to recognize her contributions to this field of study. The American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the Botanical Society of America are pleased to join together in honoring both Grady and Barbara Webster. In odd years, the BSA gives out this award and in even years, the award is provided by the ASPT.


Alberto Echeverría, Emilio Petrone-Mendoza, Alí Segovia-Rivas, Víctor A. Figueroa-Abundiz, and Mark E. Olson
The vessel wall thickness–vessel diameter relationship across woody angiosperms
American Journal of Botany, April 2022 109: 856-873


Jeanette Siron Pelton Award
The Jeanette Siron Pelton Award is given for sustained and imaginative productivity in the field of experimental plant morphology.

No award in 2023


The BSA Developing Nations Travel Grants

Rafael Acuña-Castillo, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Tami C. Cacossi, UNICAMP, Brazil

Idowu Obisesan, Bowen University Iwo, Nigeria

Malka Saba, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan 

Jayani Wathukarage, Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka and University of the Philippines, Diliman


The BSA Professional Member Travel Grants

Ana Andruchow-Colombo, University of Kansas

Nina Baghai-Riding, Delta State University

Israel L. Cunha Neto, Cornell University

Jessamine Finch, Native Plant Trust & Framingham State University

Julia Gerasimova, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Margaret Hanes, Eastern Michigan University

Adriana I. Hernandez, California Academy of Sciences

Pankaj Kumar Ph.D., FLS, Texas Tech University, Department of Plant and Soil Science

Francesco Martini, Trinity College Dublin

Elizabeth McCarthy, SUNY Cortland


Awards for Established Scientists - Given by the Sections


 Contributions to Paleobotany Award (Paleobotanical Section)

Ruth A. Stockey, Oregon State Univeristy


Edgar T. Wherry Award (Pteridological Section and the American Fern Society)
The Edgar T. Wherry Award is given for the best paper presented during the contributed papers session of the Pteridological Section. This award is in honor of Dr. Wherry’s many contributions to the floristics and patterns of evolution in ferns.

Katelin Burow, Purdue University, For the Presentation: Genetic Mechanisms of Sex Determination in Ceratopteris richardii. Co-authors: Grace Estep, Brian Dilkes, Jody Banks, Jen Wisecaver.

Sonia Molino, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, For the Presentation: Discovering Parablechnum: a complex evolutionary history within the youngest fern family. Co-authors: Weston Testo, Mario Mairal, Guillermo Santos-Rivilla, Rafael Medina


Margaret Menzel Award (Genetics Section)
The Margaret Menzel Award is presented by the Genetics Section for the outstanding paper presented in the contributed papers sessions of the annual meetings.

Lauren Frankel, University of Wisconsin-Madison, For the Presentation: Summary tests of introgression are highly sensitive to rate variation across lineages. Co-author: Cécile Ané


Michael Cichan Paleobotanical Research Grant (Paleobotanical Section)

The Award is to provide funds for those who have completed a PhD and are currently in a post-doctoral position or non-tenure track position.

Ana Andruchow-Colombo, University of Kansas, For the Paper: Placing the Voltziales: A study of the origin and evolution of modern conifers.

Michael D'Antonio, Field Museum, For the Paper: Reconstruction and systematics of conflictive late Paleozoic plants using tomography and microphotography on Mazon Creek nodules and coal balls.



Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award (Teaching Section)
The Samuel Noel Postlethwait Award is given for outstanding service to the BSA Teaching Section.

Janelle M. Burke, Howard University


Awards for Early Career Scientists


AJB Synthesis Papers and Prize

The AJB Synthesis Prize is intended to showcase early-career scientists and to highlight their unique perspectives on a research area or question, summarizing recent work and providing new insights that advance the field. The Prize comes with a $2000 award and recognition at the BSA Awards Ceremony at the Botany Conference. This is the first year of this award.

Dr. Liming Cai, University of Texas at Austin, for her article "Rethinking convergence in plant parasitism through the lens of molecular and population genetic processes,” 2023, AJB vol. 110: e16174.

Dr. Cai is currently a Stengl-Wyer Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin focusing on the evolutionary genomics and physiology of parasitic plants. She received her doctoral degree in evolutionary plant biology at Harvard University, and her bachelor’s degree, with Honors, in Life Sciences from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Her research combines natural history and cutting-edge molecular methods to gain a mechanistic understanding of how plants live and evolve. She is exploring how plant parasitism impacts the integrity of mitochondrial function and mito-nuclear interaction using genome sequencing, respiratory physiology, and herbarium-based approaches. Dr. Cai is a member of the BSA’s Early Career Advisory Board and has served on the Reviewing Editor Board for Applications in Plant Sciences. She has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and received much recognition and many awards for her scholarship.


Botanical Advocacy and Service Grant

This award organized by the Environmental and Public Policy Committees of BSA and ASPT aims to support local efforts that contribute to shaping public policy on issues relevant to plant sciences. To learn more about the winning projects click here.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc State of Hawaii/New Mexico
State Social Action Coordinator: Maya L. Shamsid-Deen

For the proposal:
Zeta Day at City Council: Social Action for Integrative Botanical Education, Access to Land, & Food Sovereignty


BSA Emerging Leaders Award

Dr. Joyce G. OnyenedumCornell University

Dr. Joyce Onyenedum is currently Assistant Professor of Plant Evolution in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences from Cornell and a doctorate in integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley. The fundamental question driving her research is understanding how plants climb. She studies patterns through classical plant anatomy, morphology, molecular systematics, and statistical phylogenetic comparative methods; she complements these findings with an understanding of the developmental, cell, and molecular processes that shape the climbing habit in disparate lineages. This integrative approach allows her to link macroevolutionary patterns to fine-scale mechanistic processes, thus uncovering the evolution of development (evo-devo) of climbing plants.


BSA Public Policy Award

The Public Policy Award was established in 2012 to support the development of of tomorrow's leaders and a better understanding of this critical area.

Katherine T. Charton, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lauren M. Orton, Sauk Valley Community College



Outgoing BSA President

Vivian Negron-Ortiz

Outgoing BSA Director-at-Large for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Chelsea Specht

Outgoing BSA Student Representative to the Board

Ioana Anghel


Awards for Students


Donald R. Kaplan Dissertation Award in Comparative Morphology
This award was created to promote research in plant comparative morphology, the Kaplan family has established an endowed fund, administered through the Botanical Society of America, to support the Ph.D. research of graduate students in this area.

Haylee Nedblake, University of Kansas, For the Proposal: Evolution of bee-exclusionary corolla width differences in Penstemon


Graduate Student Dissertation Award in Phylogenetic Comparative Plant Biology
This award supports the Ph.D. research of graduate students in the area of comparative plant biology, broadly speaking, from genome to whole organism. To learn more about this award click here.

Zachary Muscavitch, University of Connecticut, For the Proposal: The Evolutionary Dynamics of Fog Lichen Symbionts: Going Global


The BSA Graduate Student Research Award including the J. S. Karling Award
The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards support graduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendations. Withing the award group is the Karling Graduate Student Research Award. This award was instituted by the Society in 1997 with funds derived through a generous gift from the estate of the eminent mycologist, John Sidney Karling (1897-1994), and supports and promotes graduate student research in the botanical sciences.

The J. S. Karling Graduate Student Research Award

Jordan Argrett, University of Georgia, For the Proposal: Stealing from the rich to give to the poor: Are hemiparasitic plants the "Robinhood" of sub-alpine communities?

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards

Anna Becker, University of Florida, For the Proposal: The Evolution of Hawaiian Blueberries

Akriti Bhattarai, University of Connecticut, For the Proposal: Exploring the Genetic Mechanisms of White Pine Blister Rust Disease Resistance in Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) and Siberian Pine (P. sibirica)

Ryan Carlson, University of Minnesota Duluth, For the Proposal: Resolving Euphrasia Taxonomy in Minnesota

Brendan Connolly, Northwestern University and The Chicago Botanic Garden, For the Proposal: Not all pollinators are created equal: The effects of differences in pollination efficiency on plant genetic diversity and reproductive success

Alexander Damian-Parizaca, University of Wisconsin-Madison, For the Proposal: Evolution, Taxonomy and Pollination of New World Vanilla (Orchidaceae)

Anthony Dant, University of Arizona, For the Proposal: Beyond sidewalks: using a dynamic urban classification system to study the evolution of an invasive plant

Melissa Duda, Northwestern University, For the Proposal: Using reproductive biology and ecological niche models to predict the potential impact of hybridization in rare species

Caroline Edwards, Indiana University, For the Proposal: The spatial scale and environmental drivers of local adaptation in Viola pubescens

Emma Fetterly, Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden, For the Proposal: Understanding biotic and abiotic drivers of floral color polymorphism in Castilleja coccinea to inform restoration in a changing climate

Clayton W. Hale, University of Georgia, For the Proposal: Left in the Shade: Understanding the Impacts of Phenological Mismatch Between Overstory Leaf Out and Understory Herbs

Brooke Kern, University of Minnesota, For the Proposal: Is low hybrid fitness driving selection for increased reproductive isolation between Clarkia xantiana subspecies?

Ashmita Khanal, Texas Tech University, For the Proposal: Unravelling the genetic basis of sex chromosome evolution in Black Willows (Salix nigra Marshall)

Izai Kikuchi, University of British Columbia, For the Proposal: Reconstructing the evolution of mycoheterotrophy in Gentianaceae and Dioscoreales using nuclear phylogenomics

G Young Kim, University of Connecticut, For the Proposal: Facultative CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) photosynthesis in Native Hawaiian Peperomia

Kira Lindelof, North Carolina State University, For the Proposal: Applied conservation genetics: GBS and building a genetic inventory for the recovery of Houstonia montana, an imperiled high-elevation, southern Appalachian endemic

Amee Maurice, University of Connecticut, For the Proposal: Molecular Mechanisms of White Pine Blister Rust Disease Resistance Among the Threatened Whitebark Pines

Hannah McConnell, University of Washington, For the Proposal: Using the model fern Ceratopteris richardii to Investigate Genes Regulated by LEAFY Orthologs

María de Jesús Méndez Aguilar, Autonomous University of Yucatan, For the Proposal: Populational structure of the traditional Chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, Euphorbiaceae) used by Mayan communities in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

Thomas H. Murphy, University of Florida, For the Proposal: Linking morphological and niche evolution in a ubiquitous neotropical climber

Rodrigo Nicolao, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, For the Proposal: The role of hybridization in the evolution of the Southeastern South American wild potatoes (Solanum ser. Commersoniana, Solanaceae)

Diego Paredes-Burneo, Louisiana State University, For the Proposal: The role of the Amotape-Huancabamba zone on the diversification of the high-Andean flora: a case study of the genus Brachyotum (Melastomataceae)

Seth J. Raynor, University of Colorado Boulder, For the Proposal: Lichens of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Towards a Complete State Inventory

Senna Robeson, University of Chicago, For the Proposal: Seeking the source of geographic range shifts in tarflowers (Bejaria, Ericaceae)

Katie Kobara Sanbonmatsu, Texas A&M University, For the Proposal: Phylogenetics and Biogeography of Macromitrioideae (Orthotrichaceae): A Diverse but Understudied group of Mosses

Parikrama Sapkota (Pari), University of Texas at El Paso, For the Proposal: Unraveling above-belowground interactions that support restoration of dryland plants communities

Rory Schiafo, Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden, For the Proposal: Understanding the role of light availability and species' characteristics for driving priority effects in oak woodland plant communities

Rachel Tageant, Claremont Graduate University, For the Proposal: A Floristic Inventory of the Owens River Headwater Area, Mono County, CA

Rina Talaba, Northwestern University, For the Proposal: Investigating the differences of Cirsium pitcheri’s floral scent according to the predation of novel weevil, Larinus planus

Daniel Tucker, University of Victoria, For the Proposal: Magic carpets of the canopy: the role of epiphytic bryophyte functional structure in driving hydrologic ecosystem processes in a tropical montane cloud forest

Selena Vengco, Claremont Graduate University, For the Proposal: Conservation Genetics and the Maintenance of Flower Color Polymorphisms in a Non-Model System of Erythranthe discolor (Phrymaceae)

Mari Wilson, University of British Columbia, For the Proposal: Comparative transcriptomic analysis of mycoheterotrophy in fern gametophytes


The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards support undergraduate student research and are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendation.

Melanie Beaudin, Carleton University, For the Proposal: Genetic diversity and population structure of a disjunct Opuntia fragilis population

Max Gray, University of British Columbia, For the Proposal: Testing the pervasiveness of MITE-induced apomixis in Asteraceae

Kaitlin Henry, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: Chemical analysis of extrafloral nectar in western Australian Solanum tudununggae (Solanaceae) to explore possible ant-plant relationships

Jonathan Le, University of California, Irvine, For the Proposal: Mapping nutrient localization throughout Drosera capensis digestion using MALDI-MSI

Samuel Monger, Auburn University in Montgomery, For the Proposal: Identification of kudzu-associated soil microbes - a first step towards developing more successful restoration techniques

Zach Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison, For the Proposal: Morphological and physiological adaptation in an ancient plant lineage


The Botany and Beyond: PLANTS Grants Recipients
The PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists: Increasing the diversity of plant scientists) program recognizes outstanding undergraduates from diverse backgrounds and provides travel grant.

Nico Andrade, University of Florida, Advisor: Dr. Pam and Doug Soltis

Sofia Baez, Old Dominion University, Advisor: Lisa Wallace

Cari DeCoursey, Weber State University, Advisor: Dr. James Cohen

Fitzwilliam Dettmer, Rutgers University New Brunswick, Advisor: Dr. Lena Struwe

Natalie Heaton, University of Florida, Advisor: Lucas Majure

Chinyang Huang, Purdue University, Advisor: Dr. Daniel Park

Anij Mackey, Texas Tech University, Advisor: Matthew G. Johnson

Marife Minaya, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Advisor: Carrie Kiel

Hashel Orquiz, University of Texas at El Paso, Advisor: Dr. Michael Moody

HeavenLee Pagan, Auburn University at Montgomery, Advisor: Dr. Vanessa Koelling

Dominique Pham, University of Richmond, Advisor: Dr. Carrie Wu

Ethan Richardson, University of Pittsburgh, Advisor: Tia-Lynn Ashman

Tajinder Singh, Mississippi State University, Advisor: Dr. Ryan Folk

Isabella Soto, Auburn University at Montgomery, Advisor: Dr. Vanessa A. Koelling

Trinity Tobin, SUNY Cortland, Advisor: Elizabeth McCarthy


The BSA Young Botanist Awards
The purpose of these awards is to offer individual recognition to outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America.

Fae Bramblepelt, The University of Alabama, Advisor: Michael McKain

Gurleen Chana, University of Guelph, Advisor: Christina Caruso

Sam Fuss, Connecticut College, Advisor: Rachel Spicer

Erin Grady, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Advisor: Natalie Love

Wolfgang Graff, Miami University, Advisor: Richard Moore

William Gregor, Miami University, Advisor: Richard Moore

Hanna Hickey, University of Guelph, Advisor: Christina Caruso

Ellie Hollo, Connecticut College, Advisor: Rachel Spicer

Megan Keyser, Miami University, Advisor: Richard Moore

Henry Lagasse, Trinity College, Advisor: Nikisha Patel

Claire Marino, Bucknell University, Advisor: Chris Martine and Tanisha Williams

Taylor Michael, Pittsburg State University, Advisor: Neil Snow

Aadia Moseley-McCloud, Howard University, Advisor: Janelle Burke

Celina Patiño, Weber State University, Advisor: James Cohen

Sam Pelletier, Connecticut College, Advisor: Rachel Spicer

Dominique Pham, University of Richmond, Advisor: Carrie Wu

Sierra Sattler, South Dakota State University, Advisor: Maribeth Latvis

Rachel Savage, South Dakota State University, Advisor: Maribeth Latvis

Madeline Wickers, Bucknell University, Advisor: Chris Martine and Tanisha Williams

Matthew Yamamoto, Connecticut College, Advisor: Rachel Spicer

Noah Yawn, Auburn University, Advisor: Robert Boyd

Diamanda Zizis, Bucknell University, Advisor: Chris Martine and Tanisha Williams


The BSA Student and PostDoc Travel Awards
Winners were selected by lottery

Sevyn Brothers

Claudenice H. Dalastra

Melissa A. Lehrer

Isabela Lima Borges

Carlos A. Maya-Lastra

Mason McNair

Erika R. Moore-Pollard

Megan Nibbelink

Zach Smith

Tengxiang Wang


Vernon I. Cheadle Student Travel Awards (BSA in association with the Developmental and Structural Section)

This award was named in honor of the memory and work of Dr. Vernon I. Cheadle.

Arthur Leung, University of Toronto, Advisor: Rowan Sage, For the Presentation: Ultrastructural modifications facilitated the initial steps in the evolution of C4 photosynthesis in Tribulus (Zygophyllaceae)

Oluwatobi Adekunle Oso, Yale University, Advisor: Professor Erika Edwards, For the Presentation: Origin and Distribution of Leaf Teeth in Temperate Woody Angiosperm Flora.


Triarch "Botanical Images" Student Travel Awards
This award provides acknowledgement and travel support to BSA meetings for outstanding student work coupling digital images (botanical) with scientific explanations/descriptions designed for the general public.

No Award in 2023


Awards for Students - Given by the Sections

Student Presentation and Poster Awards

A. J. Sharp Award (ABLS/Bryological and Lichenological Section)

This award is given for the best student paper presented in the Bryological and Lichenological sessions.

Blair Young, Rutgers University, For the Presentation: A Potential Symbiosis of Nitrogen Fixing Bacterial Endophytes and Their Bryophyte Hosts. Co-authors: Nicole Vaccaro, Lena Struwe, James White 


Developmental & Structural Poster Award

Best Student Poster

Haylee Nedblake, University of Kansas, For the Poster: Parallel evolution of corolla tube width shifts in Penstemon. Co-authors: Meghan Tidwell, Carolyn Wessinger, Lena Hileman. 


Economic Botany Section - Best Student Crops and Wild Relatives Poster

Uzezi Okinedo, University of Massachusettes Boston, For the Poster: Discovering the Genetic Basis of Rice Grain Shape. Co-authors: Dr. Annarita Marrano, Dr. Brook Moyers


Emanuel D. Rudolph Award (Historical Section)

Ryan Schmidt, Rutgers University, For the Presentation: Hidden Cargo, Death, Survival, and Dispersion of Ballast-Associated Plant Species in the Northeastern USA. Co-authors: Megan King, Jacquelyn Johnston, Myla Aronson, Lena Struwe


Genetics Section Student Presentation Award

To be announced


Ecological Section Student Presentation Awards

Bess Bookout, Kansas State University, For the Presentation: Bison wallows bolster plant diversity and semi-aquatic habitat in tallgrass prairie. Co-author: Zak Ratajczak.

Maya Shamsid-Deen, University of New Mexico, For the Presentation: The Little Mustard That Could: Is Phenotypic Plasticity Associated with Colonization Success in Arabidopsis thaliana. Co-author: Kenneth Whitney


Ecological Section Poster Awards

Helena Mieras, University of New Mexico, For the Poster: Management Short-Term Implications on Lupinus perennis, Duff, and Supporting Vegetation in the Concord Pine Bush. Co-authors: Jennifer Rudgers, Cooper Kimball-Rhines, Heidi Holman​

Amber Stanley
, University of Pittsburgh, For the Poster: Historical climate change shifts flower shape and production of a common annual plant, Orange Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). Co-author: Tia-Lynn Ashman


Isabel Cookson Award (Paleobotanical Section)
Established in 1976, the Isabel Cookson Award recognizes the best student paper presented in the Paleobotanical Section

Jeronimo Morales Toledo, University of Michigan, For the Presentation: Reexamination of Arthmiocarpus Hesperus from the Late Cretaceous of South Dakota: Expanding the fossil record of bisexual climates in Araceae. Co-author: Selena Smith


Katherine Esau Award (Developmental and Structural Section)
This award was established in 1985 with a gift from Dr. Esau and is augmented by ongoing contributions from Section members. It is given to the graduate student who presents the outstanding paper in developmental and structural botany at the annual meeting.

Yesenia Madrigal, Universidad de Antioquia, For the Presentation: Assessment of the flowering genetic regulatory network in tropical orchids with different lifeforms. Co-authors: Michael Scanlon, Marian Bemer, Lena Hileman, Natalia Pabón-Mora


Li-COR Prize (Physiological Section)

Each year, the Physiological Section presents the Li-COR prize to acknowledge the best presentation made by any student, regardless of subdiscipline, at the annual meeting. The Li-COR prize is presented annually at the BSA Banquet.

Best Student Oral Presentations
Spencer Roop, Idaho State University, For the Presentation: Quantifying genetic variation in physiology and functional traits in subspecies of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) in a common garden setting. Co-authors: Keith Reinhardt, Matthew Germino, Bryce Richardson

Best Student Poster
Leigha Henson, Appalachian State University, For the Poster: Light and Moisture Content as Determinants of Photosynthetic Activity in Southern Appalachian Mosses from Open and Shaded Habitats. Co-author: Howard Neufeld


Maynard Moseley Award (Developmental & Structural and Paleobotanical Sections)
The Maynard F. Moseley Award was established in 1995 to honor a career of dedicated teaching, scholarship, and service to the furtherance of the botanical sciences. Dr. Moseley, known to his students as “Dr. Mo”, died Jan. 16, 2003 in Santa Barbara, CA, where he had been a professor since 1949. He was widely recognized for his enthusiasm for and dedication to teaching and his students, as well as for his research using floral and wood anatomy to understand the systematics and evolution of angiosperm taxa, especially waterlilies. (PSB, Spring, 2003). The award is given to the best student paper, presented in either the Paleobotanical or Developmental and Structural sessions, that advances our understanding of plant structure in an evolutionary context.

Madison Lalica, California Polytechnic University, Humboldt, For the Presentation: Probing the origin and evolution of periderm: what can extant plants and the fossil record tell us? Co-author: Mihai Tomescu


Physiological Section Student Presentation and Poster Awards

Best Student Oral Presentation
Steven Augustine, University of Wisconsin, For the Presentation: Life at the extreme: understanding how hydraulics constrain some of the longest living pines to unique elevational positions . Co-author: Katherine McCulloh 

Best Student Poster
Katherine Charton, University of Wisconsin - Madison, For the Poster: An encroaching woody species (Cornus racemosa) does not alter gas exchange in response to drought as much as the dominant herbaceous species in a managed temperate grassland. Co-authors: Steven Augustine, Ellen Damschen


Southeastern Section Student Presentation Awards
The following winners were selected from the Association of Southeastern Biologists meeting that took place at the end of March, 2023.

Southeastern Section Paper Presentation Award
Ben Brewer, Appalachian State University

Southeastern Section Poster Presentation Award
Elizabeth Companion, University of North Carolina Asheville


Phytochemical Section Presentation Awards

Best Presentation:
Evin Magner, University of Minnesota, For the Presentation: Post-secretory synthesis of a natural analog of iron-gall ink in the black nectar of Melianthus spp.

Best Poster:
Jayani Wathukarage, Rice Research and Development Institute, Sri Lanka, For the Poster: Phytochemical compounds from Eucalyptus with herbicidal activity


Student Travel Awards


Developmental & Structural Section Student Travel Awards

Yesenia Madrigal B., Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia), Advisor: Natalia Pabón-Mora, For the Presentation: Assessment of the flowering genetic regulatory network in tropical orchids with different lifeforms.

Deannah Neupert, Miami University, Advisor: Richard Moore, For the Presentation: The alteration to vegetative growth and gene expression supports the use of a novel aerial bulbil in Mimulus gemmiparus for reproduction.

Bryological and Lichenological Section Student Travel Awards

No awards in 2023


Ecological Section Student Travel Awards

Annie E. Meeder, California Polytechnic University, Advisor: Dr. Jenn Yost, For the Presentation: Post-eradication transitions and dynamics of Santa Cruz Island vegetation communities.

Charlotte Miranda, San Jose State University, Advisor: Benjamin Carter, For the Presentation: Soil Generalist Erysimum capitatum Shows Differential Adaptation to Serpentine Soil of Origin Across a California Latitudinal Gradient

Shan Wong, Texas Tech University, Advisor: Jyotsna Sharma, For the Presentation: Disjunct populations of a hemi-epiphytic orchid (Vanilla trigonocarpa) show segregation of mycorrhizal niches.


Genetics Section Student Travel Awards

Samantha Drewry, University of Memphis, Advisor: Jennifer Mandel, For the Presentation: Conservation genetics in the endangered whorled sunflower Helianthus verticillatus (Asteraceae).

Elizabeth Uzezi Okinedo, University of Massachusetts Boston, Advisor: Brook Moyers, For the Presentation: Pleiotropy and adaptation in the silverleaf sunflower, Helianthus argophyllus.


Economic Botany Section Student Travel Awards

No awards in 2023


Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI) Faculty and Future Faculty Conference Awards

Sarah E. Allen, Penn State Altoona

Chloe Pak Drummond, Mount Holyoke College

Elizabeth McCarthy, SUNY Cortland

Angela McDonnell, St. Cloud State University

Angela Walczyk, Gustavus Adolphus College


Physiological Section Student Travel Awards

No awards given in 2023.


Phytochemical Section Student Travel Awards

Abigail McCoy, State University of New York at Cortland, Advisor: Dr. Elizabeth McCarthy, For the Proposal: Relaxed purifying selection is observed in genes at the branches of the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway in Nicotiana species that do not produce anthocyanin compared to those that do. Co-authors: Jacob Landis, Elizabeth McCarthy


Pteridological Section & American Fern Society Student Travel Awards

Lacey E. Benson, San Jose State University, Advisor: Dr. Susan Lambrecht, For the Presentation: A morphometric analysis of western sword fern (Polystichum munitum) pinnae and pinnae scales across the coast redwood forest ecological gradient.

You-Wun Hwang, National Tsing Hua University, Advisor: Li-Yaung Kuo, For the Presentation: Frond dimorphism in Tectaria ferns: trends of their foliar characteristics and spore investment.