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Holden Award in Plant & Environmental Science Encourages Next Generation of Scientists

March 14, 2024


Researchers at HF&G are dedicated to training and inspiring the next generation of scientists, and as part of this we are proud to contribute the Holden Forests & Gardens Special Award in Plant in Environmental Science to the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF).

NEOSEF is an opportunity for local middle school and high school students to present posters of their research. Thirty finalists receive prizes, including a top prize of $25,000 and scholarships for STEM summer camps. Additionally, up to five Grand Prize Winners are sponsored to attend the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair, the largest pre-college science fair in the world. NEOSEF attracts approximately 600 students annually, and yet these major prizes are limited to only a few students, so NEOSEF partners with over 80 local organizations to make Special Awards. These Special Awards increase the number of winners and prizes, giving a chance for more students to be acknowledged and encouraged to continue their research.

The 2024 HF&G Judging team
Back row L-R: Sarah Kyker, Lydia Jahn, Kaylin Engerman, David Jenkins, Claudia Victoroff
Front L-R: Emily Lewis, Kara Grady, Brianna Shepherd, Maris Hollowell

The HF&G Special Awards are made to three projects that incorporate best scientific practices, show evidence of student-driven question and methods development, and show evidence of connection to current problems in plant and environmental sciences. Winners receive a complementary membership to HF&G along with a small cash prize and a bevy of HF&G swag. Special Awards also give students a chance to meet with researchers working in their chosen field of study, and the HF&G NEOSEF judging team of staff and students counts this as the most important aspect of the event. This year, 2024, marks the seventh year for our Special Award, since 2018 our judging team has spoken to over one hundred students about their research and made 21 awards!

The Special Awards are often considered by teachers and students in determining the topic for their next NEOSEF projects, so we hope this award will increase the number of projects undertaken in this subject area. Ultimately, our goal is to inspire and be inspired by youth who choose to study plants and the environment. 

“NEOSEF is really an amazing environment full of young scientists eager to share their discoveries. It’s really cool for Researchers from HF&G to see what students have been working on, and to encourage them in their love of plants and the environment.” Dr. Katie Stuble, HF&G Research Chair.

Juliana S. Medeiros, PhD

Juliana S. Medeiros, PhD

Plant Biologist

My research focuses on plant anatomical and physiological acclimation and adaptations to the abiotic environment. I am interested in how phenotypic and genetic variation in plant form and function interact with variation in climate over space and time to drive ecological patterns and the evolution of plant diversity. I focus primarily on plant hydraulic traits, including xylem water transport, leaf gas exchange and the integration of leaf and xylem function.  Click here to learn more about research in my lab: Medeiros Lab Webpage

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