BSA 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. This award aims to honor an individual, group, and/or institution for their impactful work that demonstrates a commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive community of engaged scholars. This can include, but is not limited to, influencing practices and policies and/or increasing access to knowledge and resources through research, teaching or outreach.

The Impact Award will be presented at the BSA’s Award Ceremony during the Society’s Annual meeting. The recognition also includes a plaque and award of $1000. BSA members are encouraged to self-nominate or nominate another BSA member or external group affiliated with the Society.

Nominations deadline EXTENDED to April 1, 2024.

The award recipient or group will be invited to share insights into the contributions/accomplishments leading to their Impact with the botanical community. BSA will work with the award recipient to determine the best mechanism and to provide logistic and organizational support; some examples are a recorded and published video interview, a written profile in the Plant Science Bulletin, hosting an online discussion session, or presenting a seminar during the annual conference or as an advertised Botany360 webinar. The BSA DEI committee looks forward to working with the award winner after the summer conference season to develop an event or activity that centers their Impact.

Call for Nominations

Botanical Society of America invites nominations for the Impact Award. Each year BSA recognizes an outstanding member of the botanical community (or a group of members) who demonstrates exemplary commitment and/or impacts to shared ideals and values centering diversity, equity, accessibility and/or inclusion. The Impact recognized can take place within the BSA, in the workplace environment, or in the broader community of botanical students and stakeholders outside the BSA. The Impact Award recipient will have demonstrated a thorough understanding and appreciation of diversity and inclusion issues and impactful accomplishments showing sustained contributions across a range of possibilities, including but not limited to:

  • Efforts to support retention of diverse personnel (faculty, staff, or students);
  • Success in raising awareness and fostering diversity and multicultural initiatives within the community in which they live, study, or work; e.g. diversity and inclusion initiatives focused on improving campus or workplace climate
  • Research, scholarship and creative activities that impact inclusion and access in the botanical sciences or across stakeholders
  • Initiative/activity to promote an understanding and awareness of diversity issues among colleagues or in the classroom
  • Professional development workshops/seminars/camps/other events on increasing knowledge and awareness and/or taking action.
  • Initiative/efforts on creating/extending a welcoming work environment and fostering a sense of belonging
  • Mentoring administrators/managers/supervisors on diversity and inclusion issues when assigned new work responsibilities or new positions.
  • Development of educational (mentoring or learning) instruments/resources (such as webinars, mobile apps, etc.) on the importance of diversity and inclusion
  • Initiative or project that develops strategies for raising awareness to biases and unacceptable behaviors and provides structures for eliminating barriers to access and inclusion in the workplace environment
  • Development of reporting pipeline or tools to address exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and hostile behavior 


  • Nominee must be a BSA member or affiliated tangentially with the Society or affiliated with botanical research or education
  • Nominations can be at any career stage or botanically-affiliated career. Nominations from early career scientists as well from students are also welcome.
  • Can be an individual or group nomination
  • Self-nominations are welcomed
  • Nominations must come from a BSA member
  • All nominated awardees must adhere to the BSA Guidelines for Professional Ethics and the Ethical Guidelines for Nominated Awards

Nomination Guidelines

The nomination package shall consist of:

    1. Nomination statement (2-page limit): focus should be on contributions that have advanced a welcoming and inclusive environment with regard to cultural, ethnic, racial, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, and other differences. Please provide examples of impact and their approach to diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.
    2. Curriculum Vitae highlighting contributions to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility in research, teaching, service and/or outreach (2-page limit) for each nominee. Be free to include links to resources that support your contributions.
    3. Any additional supplementary material (e.g. letters of support or publication links, media highlights or any other forms of evidence of impacts) that you feel would support your application.
    4. The lead nominator and each letter of support writer must each complete the Professional Conduct Disclosure Form; (nominated awardees must adhere to the BSA Guidelines for Professional Ethics and the Ethical Guidelines for Nominated Awards)

A single PDF of items 1-4 should be uploaded to the awards portal (see details on how to access the awards portal below) by March 1, each year (it was extended to April 1 this year). The award nomination packages will be evaluated by the BSA DEI committee.

This award is now open for applications.
Deadline EXTENDED to April 1, 2024 (Noon Central Time)

Current BSA members can access the awards portal by clicking here and logging in with your BotanyID/Password. Once signed in, click on the "2024 - Impact Award" link and you should see a blue button that says "+ Create New Nomination" at the bottom if your login was successful. 

Please feel free to email with any questions about the award and application process.

Congratulations to our Impact Award Winners:


Dr. Kristine Callis-Duehl

Dr. Kristine Callis-Duehl, Driemeyer Executive Director of Education

There was no 2023 winner


Ann Sakai

Dr. Ann Sakai, Professor Emeritus, University of California Irvine

It is a pleasure and an honor to announce that the first recipient of the BSA’s Impact Award is Dr. Ann Sakai, Professor Emeritus from the University of California Irvine. In addition to being an excellent scientist, with research interests in evolutionary ecology and conservation biology, Dr. Sakai has been steadfast in promoting diversity and inclusivity during her entire career. Dr. Sakai attended SACNAS for several years on behalf of the BSA, reaching out to underrepresented students and promoting our botanical community and the PLANTS program to early career researchers while also judging countless talks at those meetings. Ann also served as BSA’s first Director-at-Large for Human Diversity on the BSA Board of Directors.

Notably, along with a dedicated team, Dr. Sakai directed the NSF-funded PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists) outreach program for its first 11 years beginning in 2011. The PLANTS program provides undergraduates from diverse backgrounds with travel grants and mentors so that they can attend the national meetings of several societies focused on the plant sciences. This experience provides these students the opportunity to explore their academic and research interests in the plant sciences and to broaden their career opportunities.

Ann was tireless in her dedication to the program and her hands-on support of each and every student (over 100) that came to BOTANY through the PLANTS program. Scholars in the PLANTS program say that from the very first morning meeting with the rest of the PLANTS cohort, Dr. Sakai “set a tone of inclusivity and welcomeness” that has become a signature of the program. Not only did she support students during the meetings, making sure they had what they needed, attending their talks, and introducing them to other botanists, she provided support and encouragement as they subsequently developed their interests and career goals. She kept in touch with many of them throughout the years, helping to edit their CVs and their grant proposals, writing letters of recommendation and tracking their career paths. The personal connection, feeling that she has been “in their corner” throughout their botanical journey, has been as important for many students as the program itself.

According to one of the 2011 PLANTS recipients, who is currently an Associate Professor, “Ann is quite literally changing the makeup of our BSA meetings and the field of botany as a whole, one undergraduate at a time”—and thus is fully deserving of the BSA’s first-ever Impact Award.