LEWISBURG, Pa. — Five Bucknell undergraduate students were honored as recipients of eight highly selective research-related awards in the field of plant sciences at the Botany 2023 conference in Boise, Idaho, July 22-27. The award recipients were co-mentored by Professor Chris Martine, biology, the David Burpee Professor in Plant Genetics & Research; Tanisha Williams, formerly the Richard and Yvonne Smith Postdoctoral Fellow; and Melody Sain, Burpee Postdoctoral Fellow.
The Botanical Society of America (BSA) chose Kaitlin Henry ’25 of Vineland, N.J. , cell biology/ biochemistry, as one of the five winners of the 2023 Undergraduate Student Research Award, a student grants program requiring a proposal and letter of support. The award helped Henry establish her research project using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to analyze extrafloral nectar in an Australian bush tomato to explore possible ant-plant relationships.
With Henry being this year’s recipient, Bucknell undergrads have now received this competitive award 20 times since 2013.
Henry was also selected as recipient of the 2023 Torrey Botanical Society Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
The BSA also selected biology majors Claire Marino ’23 of Victor, N.Y, Maddie Wickers ’23 of Phoenix, Ariz. and Diamanda Zizis ’23 of Independence, Ohio, for the Young Botanist Award, an award for individual recognition of outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences. Twenty-two students were selected this year from institutions across North America based on a review of student achievement evident from resumes and letters of recommendation. Bucknell students have now been recognized with this award 21 times.
Zizis and Marino were also chosen for the Undergraduate Research Prize, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists’ annual recognition of an outstanding and independent research project in the field of plant systematics. Zizis’ project, looking at the results of hybridization between two Australian plant species with different reproductive systems; and Marino’s work, using population genetics to assess species boundaries in a group of Australian bush tomatoes, were each successfully defended as honors theses in April. Marino and Zizis are now the seventh and eighth Bucknellians to win this highly-coveted award. Zizis began graduate study in the Bucknell Biology master’s program this fall, while Marino is now attending the University of Connecticut to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology.
The ASPT also selected master’s student Isaac Buabeng ’24 of Buabeng, Ghana, Africa for a Student Travel Award that assists with his trip to Botany 2023 to present on his graduate research.) Buebeng will be sharing preliminary findings from his thesis work on the Pennsylvania-rare plant Canby’s mountain-lover, a species with only three remaining populations in the state.
Nine members of the Martine Lab attended the Botany 2023 conference this year.