Student Awards

We believe in our students and want to see them succeed. So we offer a number of award opportunities -- for teaching and research alike -- that will enable our students to Think and Do in even bigger and better ways.

Undergraduate Students

  • Purpose: Recognize a continuing undergradutate plant biology student(s) for their outstanding scholarship.
  • Award: $1500 Scholarship
  • Selection: The undergraduate committee reviews all current, continuing plant biology students each year that exhibit an outstanding cumulative and major GPAs, as well as their participation in research and/or teaching. Then the committee votes on the students.

Recent Awardees

2019 – Logan Kallam & Anne Pajerski 2013 – Meredith Wojcik
2018 – Benjamen O’Hallaron 2012 – Leah M. Elsea
2017 – Meredith E. Hemphill 2011 – David M. Higgins
2016 – Blake A. Oakley 2010 – Rochelle D. Slrednak
2015 – Danielle Y. Young 2009 – Emma C. Lookabaugh
2014 – Jake E. Haynes 2008 – Laura L. Sims

Click here to view all the past recipients of the Whitford Award.

  • Purpose: Provide support to undergraduate students who are interested in becoming involved in research with a faculty member in Plant and Microbial Biology.
  • Deadline: Varies (often in April)
  • Application: For more information on the application process please visit here.
  • Requirements: Students must be a rising sophmore, junior, or senior interested in conducting research with a faculty member in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Students must secure the consent of a department faculty member to sponsor them. Students can be in any department in any college.
  • Award: The Chilton Undergraduate Research Foundation will furnish funds up to $1500. Funds are available to the awardee as a stipend. The award may not be used to purchase research supplies or equipment. The award may be made for any two consecutive semesters, including summer semester. Under special circumstances the award may be renewed for a second year, however students must reapply each year. The award may be divided among more than one recipient.
  • Selection: The Undergraduate Committee reviews all of the applications and selects students to be interviewed in person to discuss their applications. The committee then votes on a recipient of the award, which is announced at the annual Spring Plant and Microbial Biology Ice Cream Social and Award Ceremony.

Recent Recipients

Student Recipient PMB Faculty Sponsor
2019 – Aniko Verbrugge Dr. Candace Haigler
2018 – Jessie Maier Dr. Manuel Kleiner
2017 –
2016 –
2015 –

Graduate Students

The purpose of this area is to recognize students awarded with other awards outside our Department.

  • Greg Wilson received the Shinn Grant from the North Carolina Native Plant Society. The $1000 grant will support a component of Greg’s dissertation work, specifically studies on the pollination ecology and local adaptation of Echina-cea laevigata (Asteraceae) in woodland and open microhabitats at Picture Creek Diabase Barrens.
  • Eric Land received 1st place in the Life Sciences category at the 14th Annual NC State Graduate Student Research Symposium.
  • Bean Zhou was awarded the 2019 Shiu-Ying Hu Student/Post-Doctoral Exchange Award from The Arnold Arboreteum of Harvard University.

The purpose of the Sebastian Award is to recognize outstanding plant biology graduate teaching assistants. Nominations are open to students who have taught multiple semesters (preferably multiple courses) and have excellent teaching evaluations. Awardees receive up to $500.

Recent Awardees

2019 – Katherine E. Culatta 2013 – Jared R. Locklear
2018 – Nicole L. Lindor 2012 – Alice A. Broadhead
2017 – Alexandria D. Szakacs 2011 – Kelly M. Hines
2016 – Michael Just 2010 – Rachel K. Clark
2015 – Andrew L. Pais 2009 – Elizabeth E. Rueschhoff
2014 – Stephanie N. Hollingsworth 2008 – Steven M. Bernacki

Click here to view all Sebastian Award recipients.

The purpose of the Susan R. Vitello award is to recognize plant biology graduate students who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in terms of service.

Recent Recipients

2019 – Nathan Wilson
2018 – Catherine Doyle
2017 – Nicole Lindor

The CALS Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

  • Purpose: To award teaching excellence by M.S. or Ph.D. student in any CALS department
  • Deadline: Late February
  • Nominations: Chair, plant biology awards committee
  • Criteria: Teaching effectiveness, academic scholarship, dedication, professional development
  • Application: Letters from faculty, teaching portfolio
  • Awards: Up to three (3) awards of $1,000 each
  • Selection: CALS graduate studies committee

Former Plant Biology Recipients

2015 – Stephanie Hollingsworth 2003 – Chad Jordan
2005 – Kristen Rosenfeld 2002 – Jeffrey Coker

The Kenneth R. Keller Award rewards outstanding Ph.D. research by a student from any CALS department.

Plant Biology Recipients

  • 2019 – DurreShahwar Muhammad
  • 2004 – Matt Parrow
  • 2002 – Jill Stevenson
  • 2000 – Steve Nagar

Visit the CALS website to learn more about the Kenneth R. Keller Thesis Research Award.

The CALS Professional Development Workshop is a three-day, off-site workshop to enhance the professional development of Ph.D. students

  • Deadline: End of May
  • Nominations: Ad hoc committee composed of the department head, director of graduate programs, and chair of the Plant Biology Awards Committee
  • Criteria: Nominees must be Ph.D. students who have been on campus for at least one (1) year, and preferably two (2) years, with at least one (1) year remaining before completion
    of their degrees.

Plant Biology Recipients

  • Megan Rothenberger
  • Sang Yoon Lee
  • Chad Jordan
  • Chuanzhu Fan
  • Robert Holmes
  • Elizabeth Rueschhoff
  • Larissa Knebel
  • Matt Parrow
  • Alexander Krings
  • Amanda Davis
  • Isaac Bruck
  • Ravisha Weerasinghe
  • Jeffrey Coker
  • Kristen Rosenfeld
  • Kirsten Nielsen
  • Alexa McKerrow

The NC State Graduate Student Association works with graduate faculty and administrators to recognize outstanding graduate student teachers.

Visit the Graduate Student Association website for more information.

Plant Biology Nominees and Recipients

2006- Emily Habinck, Wenheng Zhang 2003 – Kristen Rosenfeld, Chuanzhu Fan
2005 – Chad Jordan, Kristen Rosenfeld, Kris Callis 2002 – Chad Jordan, Larissa Knebe
2004 – Jeffrey Coker, Chad Jordan 2001 – Issac Bruck, Jeffrey Coker

  • Purpose: Recognition for outstanding graduate student research benefiting North Carolina
  • Deadline: Varies (often in May)
  • Nominations: Through plant biology awards committee to college
  • Criteria: Research must have had an impact on both the North Carolina economy and quality of life. Nominees must have received the degrees in the summer or fall of the previous year or spring of the current year.
  • Awards: $1,000 for outstanding Ph.D. thesis, $500 for outstanding M.S. dissertation
  • Selection: NC State Graduate School selects from college nominees

Plant Biology Winners

  • 2008 – Dr. Megan Rothenberger (Ph.D.)
  • 2007 – Alexander Krings (Ph.D.), Wade Wall (M.S.)
  • 2005 – Jeffrey Coker (Ph.D.), Kristen Rosenfeld (M.S.)

  • Purpose: To recognize outstanding thesis and dissertation utilizing IT
  • Deadline: End of September (for the previous academic year)
  • Nominations: Plant biology awards committee who submit a nominee to the Graduate School
  • Awards: $500 plus a plaque
  • Selection by: The Graduate School sends NC State University nominee to CSGS who adjudicate

Plant Biology Recipients

  • 2005 – Kristen Rosenfeld

Visit the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools website for more information.

  • Purpose: To recognize graduate students who excel as teachers in the agricultural disciplines in classroom instruction.
  • Deadline: Early March
  • Nominations: By individual NACTA fellows or via Plant Biology Awards Committee
  • Criteria: Teaching philosophy, support from a faculty member, evaluations by students, faculty, administrators, and peers, be a graduate student in good standing, minimum of 1-year teaching experience and member of NACTA
  • Award: Invitation to the national meeting, a recognition plaque

Plant Biology Recipients

  • 2003 – Jeffrey Coker
  • 1997 – Mary Lehman

Visit the North American Colleges and Teachers website for more information. 

  • Purpose: Enhance NC environment
  • Criteria:
    • Graduate student with high academic standing;
    • demonstrate leadership capability, intellectual aptitude, independent thinking, civic-mindedness. strong communications skills, personal integrity, motivation, and high moral character;
    • be involved in research related to solving problems challenging North Carolina’s environmental health;
    • be a full-time student;
    • have at least one full year of study/research remaining at NC State University;
    • be willing to participate in screening and interview process;
    • have not previously been interviewed by the selection committee;
    • be a U.S. citizen preferably and could remain in North Carolina to teach or work;
    • be willing to be an environmental ambassador for North Carolina.
  • Award: $5,000 from NCCBF with $5,000 departmental matching

Plant Biology Recipients

  • 2005 – Caitlin Elam
  • 2001 – Larissa Knebel

Visit the NC Beautiful website for more information.