Purpose and Eligibility

This award is designed to promote undergraduate student research in the botanical sciences in conjunction with our efforts to highlight the plant sciences as a study and/or career option. We see this as a simple and effective way of promoting your research, your lab, your university and your passion for the botanical sciences. It is meant to be a fun and informative activity.

To be eligible, one must be a student member of the Botanical Society of America (BSA), a registered undergraduate student, and not have won the award previously. Please note: Award Recipients will be eligible to participate in the BSA Bill Dahl Graduate Student Research Award program as a Graduate Student.

The BSA provides $500 awards in this group, acknowledging the importance of an undergraduate student research experience (including proposal/grant writing skills).

Award Level and Announcement
The award will provide up to six awards of $500 to support each recipient’s research proposal. The award winners will be posted online, noted in the Plant Science Bulletin and announced at the BSA awards ceremony held in conjunction with the Botany 2024 Conference.

Proposal Guidelines
The application shall consist of:

  1. Title page - must include: title of proposal, name of student, student’s institutional and departmental affiliation, year of student’s study, and student’s sectional affiliation(s) within BSA.
  2. A narrative - must be between 1,200 - 2,000 words, which includes a description of the research, including appropriate conceptual background, purpose or objective, brief outline of methodology, the potential contribution or significance to an area of the botanical sciences, and a bibliography. The narrative should be written in Microsoft Word in Times New Roman 11 point font.
  3. Images/Videos - We strongly encourage you to support your written narrative with images. We will also accept links to videos placed on YouTube.
  4. Budget - (one page maximum) detailing how the funds would be used.
    (These first four items for your proposal must be combined into one PDF file)
  5. A letter of support - (one page maximum) from the student’s research advisor. (The letter of support can be directly uploaded by the student applying or may be emailed by the advisor to
  6. Applicants will also be asked to address (in less than 200 words) how they or their work contribute to diversity and inclusivity in Botany and/or the BSA.

This award is now open.
Deadline April 1, 2024 (Midnight Pacific 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 - Undergraduate Student Research Award" link and you should see a blue button that says "+ Create New Application" at the bottom if your login was successful.

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

Sample Applications:

2017 Winner - Michelle Gaynor:
Assessing Genetic Diversity within Populations of Smooth Cordgrass to Ensure Effective Restoration Efforts


 2024 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Bridget Badali, Queen's University, For the Proposal: Genetic variation and population differentiation in vegetative pigmentation across the range of invasive New Zealand Mimulus guttatus. Co-author: Dr. Jannice Friedman

Sasha Carrasco, Eastern Kentucky University, For the Proposal: Investigating the bioactive properties of the genus Lygodium through phytochemical composition analysis. Co-author: Dr. Sally Chambers

Luis Hurtado, Texas A&M University, For the Proposal: Environmental DNA detection of an endangered moss. Co-authors: Katie K. Sanbonmatsu, Dale Kruse, Daniel Spalink

Isabel Smalley, University of Minnesota Duluth, For the Proposal: Resolving Phylogeny Through Deep Time: An Exploration of Myriopteris covillei (Pteridaceae).


 2023 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards

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


2022 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Caroline Bendickson, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, For the Proposal: Building a Molecular-based Phylogeny for the Genus Trillium Using Angiosperms353 Bait Capture Sequencing
Cesar Galan, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Travel to Harvard University Herbaria Collections; Access to Additional Sample Specimens
Jack Hatajik, University of Pittsburgh, For the Proposal: Mapping the population dynamics of the invasive Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) in response to climate
Isabeau Lewis, Queen's University, For the Proposal: Kin discrimination and plastic responses in growth and flowering in a clonal plant
Nicholas Rocha, Cornell University, For the Proposal: The Attractiveness of visual traits of calochortus venustus to insect pollinators
Erika Sipos, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, For the Proposal: A Phylogenetic and Biogeographical Study of Parsonsia (Apocyanceae)

2021 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Anais Barnes, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: Assessing the geographic distribution and conservation status of Heuchera alba and Heuchera pubescens using field surveys, morphology and genomics methods
Jeffrey Heim, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: A population genomics approach to understanding the role of Indigenous foragers in the distribution and genetic diversity of an Australian wild bush tomato (Solanum diversiflorum)
Matthew Hilz, Saint Louis University, For the Proposal: Testing the effect of plant Age on phenotypic traits in the field
Hsin Kuo, National Taiwan University, For the Proposal: Evolution of the AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR Gene Family in Land Plants
Claire Marino, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: Solanum sp. ‘Deaf Adder,’ a New Bush Tomato Species from the Australian Monsoon Tropics
Theodore Matel, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Cunoniaceae fossil from the early Eocene (~58 m. y.) Laguna del Hunco, Huitrera Formation, Patagonia, Argentina
Ryan McGinnis, Drake University, For the Proposal: Battle of the sexes: Intra- and Interindividual floral variation in a native fruit tree, American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana, Ebenaceae)
Nola Rettenmaier, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Assessing NAM/CUC3 Expression in Costus spicatus
Nicholas Rocha, Cornell University, For the Proposal: The Role of Pollinators in the Phenotypic Diversity of calochortus venustus
Aryaman Saksena, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Evolution of Floral Fusion in the Banana Families
Emily Smith, Drake University, For the Proposal: The function of staminodes in the reproductive success and pollination ecology of American Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana (Ebenaceae)
Ethan Stolen, University of Florida, For the Proposal: The Impact of Genome Doubling on Gene Expression Noise in Arabidopsis thaliana


2020 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Michael Daines, Brigham Young University-Idaho, For the Proposal: Distribution of Astragalus amnis-amissi, a Plant Endemic to East-Central Idaho
Aaliyah Holliday, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Evolution of the Monocot Inflorescence
Jonathan Hayes, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: Genetic diversity & connectivity of Chasmanthium latifolium (Poaceae) in Pennsylvania & the effect on conservation status
I. Jason Rose, Cornell University, For the Proposal: Inflorescence Structure And Development In Liliales: What Is The Ancestral State Of The Liliales Order?
Diamanda Zizis, Bucknell University, For the Proposal: Solanum dioicum and Solanum ultraspinosum: A morphometric analysis of hybrid offspring from parents with different breeding systems


2019 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Blake Fauskee, The University of Minnesota-Duluth, For the Proposal: Could RNA editing explain phylogenetic rate heterogeneity in seed-free vascular plants?
Brianna Reynolds, The University of Tennesse-Knoxville, For the Proposal: Identifying Fungal Endophytes in a Myrmecochore, Chelidonium majus
Susana Vega, University of Antioquia, Colombia, For the Proposal: Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Selaginella P. Beauv. (Selaginellaceae) in the Department of Antioquia, Columbia.
Paige Wiebe, Kansas State University, For the Proposal: Niche divergence in big bluestem grass ecotypes in response to experimental drought: Mechanisms of local adaptation
Noah Yawn, Auburn University, For the Proposal: Reassessment of the Endangered Alabama Canebrake Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia Alabamensis, Populations and Occurrences in Collaboration with the Atlanta Botanical Garden 


2018 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards

No awards given in 2018


2017 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Christopher Bidlack, Bucknell University - Advisor, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Jason T. Cantley, Comparing Salt Tolerance in Germination and Adulthood Between Four Australian Solanum Species
Michelle (Shelly) Gaynor, University of Central Florida - Advisor, Dr. Chase Mason with Dr. Linda Walters and Dr. Eric Hoffman, Assessing Genetic Diversity within Populations of Smooth Cordgrass to Ensure Effective Restoration Efforts
Jackie Ndem, Bucknell University - Advisor, Drs. Jessica E. Hall and Christopher T. Martine, Molecular Analysis of pollen grains from a morphologically Androdioecious but functionally Dioecious Solanum species
Kelly Pfeiler, Humboldt State University - Advisor, Dr. Alexandru M Tomescu, An Early Cretaceous seed cone provides a window into the deep phylogeny of sequoioid Cupressaceae


2016 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Christie Dang, Creighton University - Advisor, Dr. Mackenzie Taylor, Post-pollination development in the hydrophilous species Stuckenia pectinata (Potamogetonaceae)
Anna Hakkenberg, University of Richmond - Advisor, Dr. Carrie Wu, Genetic patterns of introduction during the emerging invasion of wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius) into U.S. Mid-Atlantic forest understories
María del Pilar Herrera, San Marcos University - Advisor, Dr. Julien Bachelier, Comparative development of extremely dimorphic male and female reproductive structures in Orthopterygium huaucui, a very rare and highly endemic dioecious genus of Anacardiaceae
Elizabeth Leo, Towson University - Advisor, Dr. Laura Gough, Bioavailability and Trophic Transfer of Heavy Metal Soil Contaminants in Urban Gardens in Baltimore, MD.
Nathan Luftman, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Jason Cantley, Chenopodium "Moloka'i" (Amaranthaceae): A potential new species on the Hawaiian Island Moloka'i
Kendall Major, University of Memphis - Advisor, Dr. Jennifer Mandel, Genetic Diversity and Population Structure in the Clonal Plant Trillium recurvatum
Yu-Ling Shih, Da-Yeh University - Advisors, Dr. Pei-Luen Lu, Botanical Biodiversity of Long Lellang, Sarawak, Malaysia
Austin Szubryt, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale - Advisor, Dr. Kurt Neubig, The golden rule for goldentops: using phylogenetics to classify Euthamia (Asteraceae)


2015 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Alexander C. Bippus, Humboldt State University - Advisor, Dr. Alexandru M.F. Tomescu, Exploring phylogenetic relationships in the Polytrichaceae (Bryophyta) using fossils and morphology
Nicolas Diaz, Bucknell University - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine, Determining the invasive potential of cultivated Ilex opaca
Emma Frawley, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, Solanum “bullita”: The Biological and Political Processes of Defining a New Species
Laryssa Gavala, Bucknell University - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine, Effect of Fire on Seed Germination in Solanum beaugleholei
Daniel Hayes, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, Flow Cytometric Seed Screen of the Apomictic Alpine Mustard, Draba oligosperma Hook, from the North American Cordillera
Jens Johnson, University of Washington - Advisor, Dr. Verónica S. Di Stilio, Mechanisms of Polyploidy and their Effect on Flower Diversification
L. Mae Lacey, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Elizabeth Capaldi, Exploring the potential for Solanum fruit ingestion and seed dispersal by macropod species in the Northern Territory, Australia
Sean Peña, Florida International University - Advisor, Dr. Suzanne Koptur, Diurnal and nocturnal pollination of the rough-leaf velvetseed, Guettarda scabra (Rubiaceae)
Amanda M. Salvi, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor - Advisors, Dr. Selena Y. Smith, Effect of canopy shading on morphology, physiology, and self-shading in spiral gingers (Costus)


2014 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Meredith R. Breeden, Fort Lewis College - Advisor, Dr. Ross A. McCauley, Pollination biology of the narrow endemic Ipomopsis ramosa, in Roaring Fork Canyon, CO
Alice Butler, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Chris Martine and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, Floral Development in Solanum sejunctum and Solanum asymmetriphyllum
Matthew Galliart, Kansas State University - Advisor, Dr. Loretta Johnson, Long-term field selection of big bluestem ecotypes in reciprocal gardens planted across the Great Plains precipitation gradient
Ian Gilman, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Chris Martine and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, Field botany and population genetics of Draba L. (Brassicaceae) in the Rocky Mountains
Morgan Roche, Bucknell University - Advisors, Drs. Chris Martine and Ingrid Jordon-Thaden, Genetic Diversity Within and Among Species of Dioecious Australian Solanum
Dylan D. Sedmak, Ohio State University - Advisor, Dr. John Freudenstein, Fungal Variability and Habitat Correspondence in the North American Orchid Cypripedium acaule Ait.
Kayla Ventura, University of Florida - Advisor, Dr. Pamela Soltis, Identifying the Cellular Component of Flower Size Differences in Gilia (Polemoniaceae) Associated with Changes in Pollinators


2013 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Gemma Dugan, Bucknell University - Advisor, Dr. Chris Martine, Insect selection of dioecious Australian Solanum
Anna Freundlich, Bucknell University - Advisor, Dr. Chris Martine, Effects of Invasive Species on Riparian Communities in the Susquehanna
Alexandra Boni, Bucknell University - Advisor, Dr. Chris Martine, Genetic variation within and among populations of dioecious Solanum in Northern Australia
Margarita Hernandez, University of Florida - Advisor, Dr. Pamela S. Soltis, Phylogeny Reconstruction and Character Mapping in Leptosiphon
Caitlin Maraist, Portland State University - Advisor, Dr. Mitch Cruzan, Phenotypic plasticity in functional traits related to water use between native and invasive populations of Brachypodium sylvaticum (false brome)
Theresa Ann Barosh, Willamette University - Advisors, Dr. Susan Kephart and Kathryn Theiss, Herbivory and Pollination: Examining the relationship between galling and pollinator visitation in Camassia (Agavaceae)


2012 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Jenna Annis, Eastern Illinois University, - Advisor, Dr. Janice M. Coons, Evaluating Seed Ecology of Federally Threatened Pinguicula ionantha (Godfrey’s butterwort)
Ian A. Harkreader, Drake University, - Advisor, Dr. Nanci Ross, Pollination Biology and Habitat Preference of a rare native lily, Lilium michiganense
Hillary Karbowski, Central Michigan University, - Advisor, Dr. Anna K. Monfils, Local abiotic factors and plant assemblages: An investigation into prairie fen biodiversity
Caprice Lee, University of California, Davis, - Advisor, Dr. Sharman Diane O’Neill, Novel embryological study of Vanilla planifolia using confocal scanning laser microscopy
Tess Nugent, University of Michigan, - Advisor, Dr. Selena Y. Smith, Investigating potential causes for variation in δ13C discrimination in Ginkgo biloba
Jennifer O’Brien, Eastern Illinois University, - Advisor, Dr. Janice M. Coons, Enhancing Seed Germination and Determining the Seed Bank of the Federally Threatened Scutellaria floridana
Bryan Thompson, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, - Advisor, Dr. Chris Martine, Hydroponic Technology: The Future of Farming and its Ecological Benefits - Growth rate response and productivity of Ocimum basilicum and super beefsteak tomato within a soilless environment compared to a soil environment


2011 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards
Keri L Caudle, Fort Hays State University, - Advisor, Dr. Brian R. Maricle
Jennifer Collins, SUNY Plattsburgh, - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine
Jacqueline Rice, University of Florida, - Advisor, Dr. Pamela Soltis
Eric Taber, Colgate University, - Advisor, Dr. Eddie Watkins
Megan Ward, SUNY Plattsburgh, - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine


2010 BSA Undergraduate Student Research Award Recipients
Amanda Bieber, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, - Advisor, Dr. Lytton Musselman, Molecular identification of potentially invasive Cuscuta in Brunei Darussalam
Sasha Dow-Kitson, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY, - Advisor, Dr. Chris Martine, Reproductive biology of Hydrocharis morsus-ranae in Lake Champlain, a likely source population for the next region-wide aquatic plant invasion
Elizabeth Lavoie, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY, - Advisor, Dr. Chris Martine, A new species of wild eggplant, with implications for the evolution of a rare breeding system
Heather Meyer, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY - Advisor, Dr. Kenneth Karol, A phylogenetic and morphological analysis on the current taxonomic scheme of Nitella flexilis L.
Alexander R. Scharf, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY, - Advisor, Dr. Chris Martine, Chromosome number in Solanum sejunctum: The potential role of polyploidy in the origin of an Australian dioecious species
Paige Swanson, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, - Advisor, Dr. Pam Diggle, The Role of Branching Control Genes in Mimulus guttatus
Wes Testo, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, - Advisor, Dr. James E. Watkins, Jr., Desiccation tolerance and calcium requirements of gametophytes of American Hart’s-Tongue Fern, Phyllitis scolopendrium var. americana