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CAS graduate students awarded second Unruh Book Scholarship

TAMPA, Fla. – Two integrative biology graduate students were awarded their second Unruh Book Scholarships from the Fern Garden Club of Odessa, Florida.

Christy Foust received this award for her biology research on the effects of salt stress on the population structure of the salt marsh plants smooth cordgrass and sea oxeye. Jamie Gluvna received her award for her research on factors impacting the growth of longleaf pine trees. Both graduate students were selected for their academic achievements, active degree pursuit and ongoing research performance. Foust was awarded her first Unruh Book Scholarship in 2011 and Gluvna in 2013.

“It means a great deal that local organizations, like the Fern Club of Odessa, invest in USF students like me, and help to lighten our financial burdens,” Foust said.

Foust is currently a graduate assistant at the University of South Florida working toward her Doctor of Philosophy. She has contributed to several publications on biology and ecological epigenetics. Foust will be presenting her dissertation data at the international conferences Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution in Puerto Rico and the International Conference on Invasive Spartina in Rennes, France.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Fern Garden Club for supporting me for the second time while I continue my work on salt marsh plant epigenetics,” Foust said.

Gluvna is also a USF graduate assistant working toward her Ph.D. in biology. Her research focuses on what impacts growth variation between longleaf pines growing in the USF Forest Preserve, such as burn frequency, elevation and how these factors influence the population growth rate. Gluvna measures individual tree rings and uses mathematical models to determine which factors result in the most variation between trees.

“To me, this scholarship represents the connection between plants and people, and reminds me that people from all walks of life appreciate plants and support plant research,” Gluvna said. “I am greatly appreciative of the folks at the Fern Garden Club of Odessa for providing this scholarship.”

The Fern Garden Club (FGC) of Odessa is involved in local beautification and community improvement projects as well as conservation work and local fauna support. FGC supports the University of South Florida Botanical Gardens. They also provide scholarships through their charitable projects to biology graduate students like Foust and Gluvna whom study plants.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Integrative Biology    
Author: Jasmin Lankford