Botanical Society of America Awards Recipients 2018

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 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

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.

No Distinguished Fellow Award given in 2018

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

Dr. Lena Struwe, Rutgers University

Dr. Struwe clearly brings all of the qualities recognized by the Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award. Not only is she an outstanding plant systematist, but also an inspirational teacher and advocate for the field. She has reinvigorated the Botany program at Rutgers, including leading an active and growing herbarium, a campus flora project and dynamic and well-enrolled botany classes. She has worked extremely hard to create new techniques and methods to help students learn. She hosts a blog on botanical accuracy ( that is recognized as one of the Top 50 Biology Blogs and most recently, she founded Botany Depot (, a public website allowing botany educators around the world to exchange ideas and materials. Dr. Struwe is the first person that many reach out to as a resource for successful ideas and guidance for teaching Botany in the classroom. She has had a lasting influence on her students, colleagues and the public.

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.

Donald R. Kaplan Memorial Lecture

Dr. Toby Kellogg, Danforth Plant Science Center.

Dr. Elizabeth "Toby" Kellogg has spent her career studying cereal crops and their wild relatives in the grass family, plants on which all of civilization depends. Her unique contribution has been to forge connections between scientists in the front lines of biodiversity research and those breaking new ground in genetic and genomic studies.

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

No Pelton Award given in 2018

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.

The BSA Developing Nations Travel Grants

N. Ivalu Cacho, Instituto de Biología, UNAM, Mexico

Eliezer Cocoltzi, Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Mexico

Orlando Adolfo Jara, Jardín Botánico de Bogotá , Columbia

Satish Khadia, S.D.Agricultural University, India

Nicholas Le Maitre, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Viviana Londoño Lemos, Universidad de los Andes, Columbia

Maria Laura Pipo, INIBIOMA (UNCo-CONICET), Argentina

Boni Souleymane, University of Parakou, Benin

The BSA Professional Member Travel Grants

John Chau, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Verónica S. Di Stilio, University of Washington

Jaime Fagundez, University of A Coruña, Spain

Joseph Gallagher, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Ed McAssey, University of Georgia

Erik Nilsen, Virginia Tech

Tilottama Roy, Western Missouri State University

Adam Schneider, University of Toronto-Missaussaga, Canada

Laura Skates, University of Western Australia, Australia

Evelyn Williams, Chicago Botanic Garden

Awards for Established Scientists - Given by the Sections

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.

Alex Harkess
, For the presentation: Testing a “two-gene” model for sex chromosomes evolution in asparagus

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

Dr. Madhav Nepal
, South Dakota State University

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.

Ariana Eily, For the presentation: A glimpse at genes critical to the Azolla-Nostoc symbiosis Co-authors: Kathleen M. Pryer, Fay-Wei Li

Awards for Early Career Scientists

BSA Emerging Leaders Award

Dr. Madelaine Bartlett, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Dr. Bartlett is a strongly dedicated scientist, driven by her multi-disciplinary research on plant evolution and development with particularly strengths in molecular and genomic evolution, plant developmental genetics, and comparative and experimental plant evolutionary biology. Her research uniquely combines these various focal areas of expertise, making her one of the top plant evolutionary and developmental geneticists of her generation.

She is fearless in developing cutting-edge research designed to understand fundamental processes in plant development and genetic evolution that ultimately play a key role in plant adaptation and diversification. Though her research, teaching & mentoring, and outreach Madelaine has positioned herself to have a major impact on the future of scientific research and education in botany, plant evolution and developmental biology. Her scholarship, creativity, energy and drive make her the ideal embodiment of a BSA Emerging Leader.

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.

Tanisha Williams, Ph.D. Student
, University of Connecticut

Timothy Batz, Grad student
, California State Polytechnic University


Out-going BSA President

Dr. Gordon Uno

Out-going Director-at-large for Education

Dr. Allison Miller

BSA Student Representative to the Board

James McDaniel

Awards for Students

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 2018 award recipients are:

The J. S. Karling Graduate Student Research Award

Rebekah Mohn,  University of Minnesota, Advisor: Dr. Ya Yang, For the Proposal: Dissecting the Evolutionary History of North American Sundews (Drosera, Droseraceae)

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards

Jared Beck,  University of Wisconsin-Madison, Advisor: Dr. Donald Waller, For the Proposal: Do natural enemies regulate herbaceous plant diversity? Examining patterns of distance- and density-dependent mortality in temperate forests  

Taylor Chae Miami University,  Advisor: Dr. Richard Moore, For the Proposal:  Differential gene expression in Carica papaya associated with reverse sexual transition from dioecy to hermaphroditism

Joseph Charboneau, University of Arizona, Advisor: Dr. Michael Sanderson, For the Proposal: Verifying and screening for chloroplast genome inversions in New World Astragalus (Fabaceae)

Katherine Culatta, North Carolina State University, Advisor: Dr. Alexander Krings, For the Proposal: Taxonomy, Population Genetics, and Status Assessment of Nuphar sagittifolia (Walter) Pursh (Nymphaeaceae)  

Aayudh Das, University of Vermont, Advisor: Dr. Jill Preston, For the Proposal: Testing the influence of extrinsic versus intrinsic factors on the evolution of grass stress tolerance  

Andrea Fetters, University of Pittsburgh, Advisor: Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman, For the Proposal: Pollination gone viral: pollinators as novel agents of plant pathogen transmission  

Mahboubeh Hosseinalizadeh Nobarinezhad, Mississippi State University, Advisor: Dr. Lisa Wallace, For the Proposal: Fine-scale genetic structure in rhizosphere microbial communities associated with Chamaecrista fasciculata (Fabaceae)  

Stacy Jorgensen, University of Arizona, Advisor: Dr. Mark Beilstein, For the Proposal: Transcriptomic desiccation response in diploid and polyploid xerophytic species of Selaginella subg. Rupestrae  

Christopher Krieg, University of Florida, Advisor: Dr. Emily Sessa, For the Proposal: How understanding the evolution of physiological traits and environmental niche can help save the world’s most threatened plant group

Katherine Kucera, Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden, Advisor: Dr. Andrea Kramer, For the Proposal: Characterizing genetic changes in the production of multi-source seed lots in Penstemon pachyphyllus

Kali Mattingly, The Ohio State University, Advisor: Dr. Steven Hovick, For the Proposal: Assessing the extent of hybridization between the invasive species Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) and the horticultural species L. virgatum

Samuel McCauley, University of Idaho, Advisor: Dr. David Tank, For the Proposal: Biogeographically-mediated evolution and diversification of Thalictrum (Ranunculaceae)  

Juan Isaac Moreira Hernandez, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Advisor: Dr. Nathan Muchhala, For the Proposal: Interspecific pollen transfer and gene flow during the rapid diversification of Neotropical bat-pollinated bellflowers (Campanulaceae: Burmeistera)  

Kirsten Nolting, University of Connecticut, Advisor: Dr. Kent Holsinger, For the Proposal: What makes a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ hot? Trait-mediated species coexistence in seedling communities in a fire-driven ecosystem  

Lindsey Riibe, University of Florida, Advisor: Dr. Emily Sessa, For the Proposal: Phylogeny & biogeography of endemic ferns in a biodiversity hotspot

Gabriella Rossetto, Pennsylvania State University, Advisor: Dr. Peter Wilf, For the Proposal: Araucarian conifer fossils of Eocene Patagonia may reveal an Australasian rainforest connection  

Aniket Sengupta, University of Kansas, Advisor: Dr. Lena Hileman, For the Proposal: Of central importance: control of carpel zygomorphy in tribe Antirrhineae by CYCLOIDEA-RADIALIS interaction  

Shengchen Shan, Florida Museum of Natural History, Advisor: Dr. Doug Soltis, For the Proposal: Developmental and genetic dynamics of the inflorescence in reciprocally formed allopolyploid Tragopogon miscellus (Asteraceae)  

Mathew Sharples, University of Colorado-Boulder, Advisor: Dr. Erin Tripp, For the Proposal: Investigating the Origins of Apetaly in the Cosmopolitan Genus Stellaria L. (Caryophyllaceae)  


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.

Glen Morrison, University of California-Riverside, Advisor: Dr Amy Litt, For the presentation: "Testing the utility of morphological traits in delimiting a variable subspecies group, the Arctostaphylos glandulosa complex."
Co-authors: Yi Huang, Natalie Saavedra, Thomas Stoughton, Dylan Burge, V.T. Parker, and Amy Litt

Farahnoz Khojayori, Virginia Commonwealth University, Advisor: Dr Wenheng Zhang, For the  presentation: "CYC2-like genes elucidate floral symmetry evolution following a major biogeographic disjunction."
Co-authors: Jingbo Zhang, Elena Kramer, Charles Davis, and Wenheng Zhang.

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.

Rebekah Mohn, University of Minnesota - 1st Place, Dewy Tentacles, $500 Botany 2018 Student Travel Award

Ya Min
, Harvard University - 2nd Place, Floral Morphogenesis, $300 Botany 2018 Student Travel Award

Iona Anghel
, University of California-Los Angeles - 3rd Place, Extreme Living, $200 Botany 2018 Student Travel Award

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. 

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.

Shayda Abidi, Humboldt State University, Advisor: Dr. Mihai Tomescu

Nicholas Drews, Eastern Michigan University, Advisor: Dr. Margaret Hanes

Caroline Edwards, Oberlin College, Advisor: Dr. Michael Moore

Michelle Gaynor, University of Central Florida, Advisor: Dr. Eric Hoffman

Georgia Hann, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Chad Jones

Dan Hayes, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Chris Martine

Laban Kayitete, Arizona State University, Advisor: Dr. Kathleen Pigg

Mae Lacey, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Chris Martine

Hanna Makowski, St. Mary's College- Notre Dame, Advisor: Dr. Cassie Majetic

Mallory Malecek, South Dakota State University, Advisor: Dr. Maribeth Latvis

Sarah McDonald, University of Guelph, Advisor: Dr. Christina Caruso

Kelly Pfeiler, Humboldt State University, Advisor: Dr. Mihai Tomescu

Pasteur Magine Uhaweniman, Arizona State University, Advisor: Dr. Kathleen Pigg

Andrea Wallace, Hillsdale College, Advidor: Dr. Ranessa Cooper

The BSA PLANTS Grant 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 grants and mentoring for these students.

Liliana Benitez, New College of Florida, Advisor: Dr. Emily Saarinen

John Christman III, Christopher Newport University, Advisor: Dr. Janet Steven

Inesha Ellis, Widener University, Advisor: Dr. Katherine Goodrich

David Flanery, South Dakota State University, Advisor: Dr. Maribeth Latvis

Andrew Gonzalez, California State University - Sacramento, Advisor: Dr. Thomas Peavy

Alexis Kantor, University of Colorado-Boulder, Advisor: Dr. Stacey Smith

Carina Motta, University of California-Santa Barbara, Advisor: Dr. Susan Mazar

Simone Oliphant, Florida International University, Advisor: Dr. Suzanne Koptur

Asa Peters, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Chad Jones

Megan Rasmussen, SUNY-Farmingdale, Advisor: Dr. Eric Morgan

Keana Tang, California State University - Long Beach, Advisor: Dr. Amanda Fisher

Nicole Tineo, The College of New Jersey, Advisor: Dr. Wendy Clement

Matthew Treanor, Plymouth State University, Advisor: Dr. Diana Jolles

Delecia Utley, Howard University, Advisor: Dr. Janelle Burke

Awards for Students - Given by the Sections

Genetics Section Student Research Awards
Genetics Section Student Research Awards provide $500 for research funding and an additional $500 for attendance at a future BSA meeting.

Danielle Black
, University of California-Santa Barbara, Advisor: Dr. Scott Hodges, For the Proposal: Identifying the genetic basis of serpentine adaptation in Aquilegia eximia

Sarah Carey
, University of Florida, Advisor: Dr. Stuart McDaniel, For the Proposal: Developing near-universal sex-linked markers for mosses

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

Camila Martinez

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.

Ya Min, Harvard University, For the Presentation: Sweet genes are made of STYLISH – Members of the STYLISH gene family control both style and nectary development in Ranunculids. Co-authors: Imani Bunn and Elena Kramer

Physiological Section Li-COR Prize

Timothy Perez

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.

Ecological Section Student Poster and Presentation Awards


Sydney Houghton - (Undergraduate Student), Seed Pod Wind Dispersal of Holmgren’s Milk-vetch Astragalus holmgreniorum. Co-authors: Susan Meyer, Michael T. Stevens

Jessamine Finch - (Graduate Student), Effects of seed source vary among species, early life stages, and field sites for two milkweeds (Asclepias sp.). Co-authors: Alexandra Seglias, Andrea Kramer, Kayri Havens


He-Lo Ramirez - (Undergraduate Student), Leaf trait variation in a Quercus lobata common garden experiment is not explained by climatic conditions of maternal seed source. Co-authors: Christopher Ivey, Victoria Sork, Jessica Wright

Anthony Melton - (Graduate Student), Niche Evolution in Rapid Radiations: Do Hybridization and Polyploidization Drive Niche Divergence? Co-authors: Pamela S. Soltis, Douglas Soltis

Genetics Section Student Presentation Award

Robert Auber, For the Presentation: Identifying gene candidates of the shikonin biosynthesis pathway in the Chinese medicinal plant Lothospermum erythrorhizon

Tropical Biology Section Student Presentation Award

Physiological Section Student Presentation Awards

Eileen Schaub

Physiological Section Student Poster Awards

Aleca Borsuk

Developmental & Structural Section Student Travel Awards

Amanda Katzer, University of Kansas, Advisor: Dr. Emily Sessa, For the Presentation: How understanding the evolution of physiological traits and environmental niche can help save the world’s most threatened plant group

Dustin Ray, University of Connecticut, Advisor: Dr. Cynthia Jones, For the Presentation: Mechanical and physiological traits do not trade off in petioles Co-author: Cynthia Jones

Cecilia Zumajo, New York Botanical Garden, Advisor: Dr. Barbara Ambrose, For the Presentation: Expression and functional studies of basal eudicot REPLUMLESS homologs during flower and fruit development Co-authors: Natalia Pabon Mora, Barbara Ambrose

Ecological Section Student Travel Awards

Francesco Martini, Guangxi University, Advisor: Dr. Uromi Goodale, For the Presentation: Forest regeneration in a subtropical forest: factors shaping seedling community along elevation  Co-authors: Chelsea R. Smith, Jordan Teisher

Genetics Section Student Travel Awards

Yi Huang, University of California-Riverside, Advisor: Dr. Amy Litt, For the Presentation: Genetic Variation and habitat differentiation in a group of taxonomically difficult plants: Arctostaphylos glandulosa (Ericaceae) Co-authors: Glen Morrison, Andrew Sanders, Natalie Saavedra, Dylan Burge, Thomas Parker, John Keeley, Amy Litt

Shujun Ou, Michigan State University, Advisor: Dr. Ning Jiang, For the Presentation: The genomic composition and domestication of Asian rice revealed by 3,400 rice genomes Co-author: Ning Jiang

Serena Macias, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Advisor: Dr. Christine Edwards, For the Presentation: Phylogenomics of Passiflora sect. Decaloba reveals strong biographic structuring of clades Co-authors: Christine Edwards, John MacDougal

Kali Mattingly, The Ohio State University, Advisor: Dr. Steve Hovick, For the Presentation: Assessing the extent of hybridization between the invasive species Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) and the horticultural species L. virgatum Co-author: Steve Hovick

Pteridological Section & American Fern Society Student Travel Awards

Anthony Baniaga, University of Arizona, For the Presentation: Hybridization, polyploidy, and adaptation to extreme environments by Selaginella

Maggy Bunker, University of Florida

Susan Fawcett, University of Vermont

Zheng Li, University of Arizona, For the Presentation: Why do homosporous ferns have high numbers of chromosomes?

Lindsey Riibe, University of Florida, For the Presentation: Phylogeny and biogeography of endemic ferns in a biodiversity hotspot

Tanner Robison, Utah State University, For the Presentation: Mobile elements may be shaping plastome evolution in ferns

Peter Schafran, Old Dominion University, For the Presentation: Phylogeny and biogeography of endemic ferns in a biodiversity hotspot

Nipuni Shalika, University of Hawaii at Manoa