FIU-Fairchild Undergraduate Receives Young Botanist Award

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sofia Ocampo has been awarded the Young Botanist Award from the Botanical Society of America. The purpose of this award is to offer individual recognition to outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America. Sofia is a senior seeking her degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at FIU. She has been a part of the FIU-Fairchild undergraduate program since the summer of 2017. She has been working with Ph.D. candidate Nichole Tiernan to study the breeding system of Plumeria (Apocynaceae), using the living collection at Fairchild. Since the fall semester of 2018, Sofia has also been working with Dr. Jason Downing as a Tropical Conservation Intern for the Million Orchid Project, sponsored by FIU, where she studies mycorrhizal fungi associated with native Florida orchids. Sofia isolates the fungi from root samples and cultures it for future DNA sequencing and testing to see if it is eligible for long-term banking by cryogenically freezing and thawing. Prof. Suzanne Koptur (faculty in the Departement of Biological Sciences of FIU) nominated Sofia for the Botanical Society of America’s Young Botanist Award. Sofia has been a Learning Assistant for Prof. Koptur’s Ecology classes. Sofia will receive a certificate of special achievement, student membership to the Botanical Society of America, and have her name published in the Plant Science Bulletin.

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