New graduates students join botany cohort with Fall 2012 semester and one student completes her Ph.D.
This fall semester, which began September 4, members of the graduate program welcomed four new students to the Claremont Graduate University Department of Botany at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Congratulations to Saeideh Mashayekhi, the newest CGU alumna in botany.
Noravit Chumchim, who goes by the nickname "Palm," comes to the Botany Department from Songkhla, Thailand. Chumchim, who is pursuing a doctoral degree, holds an M.S. degree in botany from Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok, Thailand). He studied palynology (pollen) of mangrove flora in Thailand under the supervision of Professor Chumpol Khunwasi. With a keen interest in pursuing work in modern systematics, Chumchim read a paper authored by Professor Lucinda McDade and ultimately applied to the program here in Claremont.
Melissa Johnson, who received her M.S. degree in tropical conservation biology and environmental sciences from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, will also be entering the doctoral program. Johnson is interested in tropical angiosperm evolution and was attracted to the program by the faculty’s expertise in systematics, phylogenetics and floristics. Her master’s degree studied the reproductive isolation of the genus Cyrtandra. Her doctoral research may build upon her previous studies, or pursue other avenues of research related to speciation and hybridization that are of particular interest to her.
Erika Gardner, a native of Pomona, CA, is no newcomer to RSABG since she has been in charge of the Herbarium Workroom for several years. Gardner, who holds a B.S. in biology from California Polytechnic State University Pomona, will continue to manage activities in the Herbarium Workroom while she pursues her graduate studies. As a master’s student, she intends to advance knowledge of the diverse flora of California by undertaking a floristics study (that is, determining the plants of a particular poorly known region). This will involve countless days of fieldwork, plant collecting and documentation to catalog plant species within the study area and a M.S. degree.
Jessica Orozco is also pursuing a master’s degree in botany. She comes to the program with a B.S. in biology from San Francisco State University. Orozco will also conduct floristic research on a-yet-to-be-charted area of California. She will use the compiled records of herbaria in California (more than 400,000 of which are for specimens housed here at RSABG) to arrive at just the right place to explore and document: interesting, poorly known and close enough to be feasible. A native of Sacramento, Orozco spent the past summer as an intern in the Jepson Herbarium at the University of California at Berkeley and will be a research assistant in the RSA-POM Herbarium here at RSABG during the fall semester. Both of these experiences will put her on good footing to pursue her master’s research. While at SFSU, Orozco was an active member of the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS), as well as a volunteer with Voices of the Native Nations, a non-profit community radio program dedicated to issues facing Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples.
Doctoral candidate Saeideh Mashayekhi turned in her dissertation titled “Evolutionary Study of the Genus Allium (Amaryllidaceae) in North America” this summer to receive her Ph.D. degree. Mashayekhi’s research focused on North American clades of Allium (native onions) and included extensive work on a rare and endangered California endemic species Allium munzii. A native of Tonekabon, Iran, Mashayekhi came to RSABG in 2006. Currently she lives in New South Wales, Australia, where she is working on a collaborative project between the University of Wollongong and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.
Three new students join the graduate program in Botany
The fall semester kicked off on Monday, August 29, 2011, and saw the addition of three new students for a total of 15 in the CGU Botany Department at RSABG.
Joy England is pursuing a master’s degree. England grew up in Northern California and currently resides in Glendora; she lived for several years in Oaxaca, Mexico. She received her B.A. from Life Pacific College and spent some time working with an environmental consulting firm. She has been a member of the staff since 2009 as a curatorial assistant in the Herbarium. Her hands-on familiarity with our native plants has her eager to pursue floristic work, possibly in Southern California mountains.
Forrest Freund, a native son of Sonoma County who enjoyed his youthful wanderings in oak savannas, comes to us from Santa Rosa, Calif., to pursue a doctoral degree. Freund earned his undergraduate degree from Humboldt State University, and recently set aside his work with the Bureau of Land Management in Ridgecrest to attend graduate school. Freund is interested in the so-called primitive vascular land plants (that is, those that do not have flowers but do have special tissues to conduct food and water) and also in evolutionary processes.
Tommy Stoughton joins us as doctoral student from Glendora, Calif. A Southern Californian native, Stoughton spent several years working for the USDA Forest Service near Big Bear in the San Bernardino Forest. An avid and knowledgeable wildflower enthusiast, ardent hiker and most recently the RSABG coordinator for Seeds of Success, he has an interest in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) and some of its more perplexing genera. He is alsoy intrigued by high-elevation habitats and the plants that can grow only there. High elevation alpine habitats are effectively islands—they are separated from other areas of alpine habitat by vast seas of lower elevation terrain that are as inhospitable to alpine plants as the sea itself.
We welcome all three of these students to the Claremont Graduate University Botany Department at RSABG and RSABG's research community!