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Graduate Student Awards & Grants

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award 

This award carries recognition, but no cash award, and is given to approximately 35 graduate teaching/laboratory assistants in the University each year. Our department may nominate two graduate students each year at the beginning of Spring semester. Nominees must have taught during the previous calendar year. The GSC selects nominees on the basis of recommendations by instructors and student evaluations. 

Excellence in Teaching Award 

This award carries recognition, a cash award of $1000 and is given to five graduate teaching/laboratory assistants (University-wide) each year. We may nominate one of our outstanding LAs for this award if they previously received or are currently nominated for the Outstanding TA Award. The nomination dossier, prepared by the Graduate Coordinator and the nominee, includes a nomination letter from the Department, (a letter of support from a “faculty member qualified to assess the TA’s teaching effectiveness”), a one page synopsis of teaching evaluations, and a one page CV, “including descriptions of any creative teaching materials developed or innovative instructional techniques used”. Potential nominees for this award are urged to ask faculty to evaluate their teaching effectiveness in person and to request that students include written comments on the teaching evaluation forms. 

Wilbur Duncan Award

This award is the highest recognition awarded to students in Plant Biology and it recognizes a PBIO graduate student's excellence in two of three areas: research, teaching and service to the department. 

Selection for the Duncan award is made by the PBIO Graduate Studies Committee. Duncan Award recipients are listed on a plaque in the Palfrey Room (2507 Miller Plant Sciences).  Noteworthy are the first two recipients, Adrienne Edwards (1996) and Robert Alba (1997), who played a significant role in promoting the culture of teaching in the department by encouraging faculty to become more involved in the scholarship of teaching and learning. This award comes with a $1000 cash award.

Wilbur H. Duncan (1910-2005) was a faculty member and Curator of the UGA Herbarium in what was then the Botany Department for 40 years (1938-1978).  He increased the herbarium collection from 16,000 to 135,000 specimens, described 3 new plant species and published five books, three of them with his botanist wife, Marion, of 64 years and after he had officially retired.  He is remembered by colleagues as a skilled field botanist, gifted teacher, field guide, author, plant photographer and friend.

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society 

These awards are for submitted theses, dissertations and papers. Nominations are made by a member of Sigma Xi. The award is a plaque presented at a dinner meeting. Small (approximately $800) research grants are also available from Sigma Xi. 

Palfrey Research Grants 

The Plant Biology Department funds small grants from research overhead funds to support certain aspects of Plant Biology graduate student research. The following general guidelines are in effect: 

  1. Funds may be requested to support travel for research, supplies and expenses, participation in special courses, special items of equipment, and users’ fees for special equipment or analyses. Requests for salaries will NOT be considered through this program. 
  2. Grant awards will normally be for a maximum of $1250 and you may only receive one per year, two total. 
  3. Awards are made from the current fiscal year budget and must be spent before the end of 18 months from the award date. If additional funds are needed for a subsequent year, a new proposal must be submitted. The usual application deadlines are early November and early April. Application guidelines are provided prior to each deadline. 
  4. Grant proposals will be judged on a competitive basis by the Plant Biology Graduate Studies Committee. Preference will be given to students who have attempted to obtain funding elsewhere and/or do not have access to other funds. Proposals should conform to guidelines that will be distributed with the request for proposals. 

Cover Page for Palfrey, Jaworski, and Haines proposals 

Palfrey Fund Special Requests 

The Palfrey fund is a Departmental endowment from the estate of Mr. Frank Palfrey. Proceeds from the endowment are used for the enrichment of departmental programs, and students may request funds through their major professor. The Palfrey Fund does not normally fund routine research expenses, but special training or a special piece of equipment might be funded. 

Travel Funds 

* Graduate School Funds:

The Graduate School has limited funds to assist graduate student travel to present papers at professional conferences within the continental United States. Students seeking travel assistance must be properly registered during the semester in which the request is submitted and for the semester for which the trip is scheduled. Some general guidelines for Graduate School funds: 

  1. First preference will be given to doctoral students. 
  2. The meeting or conference to be attended must be regional or national in character. 
  3. Approval of travel requests for individual students will be limited to one trip during a fiscal year (July 1-June 30). 
  4. Students submitting a request must possess a minimum cumulative graduate grade point average of 3.50 based on at least two (2) years of full-time graduate study (5 semesters) at The University of Georgia with no grades of “incomplete” or “No Grade”. 
  5. Funding will not be provided to students employed as instructors or classified employees. 
  6. The applicant must be registered during the semester of his/her travel. If traveling between semesters, he/she must also register for the semester following the travel. 
  7. Each travel request must be approved prior to the date of travel Reimbursement for expenses will not be made in those instances where travel was undertaken prior to receiving written approval from the Graduate School. 
  8. All requests must be reviewed by the Graduate Coordinator before submission to the Graduate School. Each request must be accompanied by evidence that the student’s research has been accepted for presentation, an abstract of the research to be presented, and Authority to Travel form.

    Request must be submitted to Graduate Coordinator Assistant according to the following schedule:

    Travel Dates

    Travel Dates Request Deadline
    10/01-12/31 09/08
    01/01-03/31 12/08
    04/01-06/30 03/08
    07/01-09/30 05/25

    *Due to budget cuts, these deadlines may vary; if so, you will be notified by e-mail. 

  9. Graduate School reimbursement requests must be submitted within 20 days of returning from your trip. 


* Departmental Funds:

Alan Jaworski Student Travel Award 

This departmental fund was established by colleagues and family of our late Plant Biology department head. It is intended to provide graduate (and undergraduate) students with travel expenses for field research, scientific conferences and other educational purposes. First or second year graduate students are eligible. Applications due April 1. Maximum of 2 awards per person during degree. Application details will be emailed to you in March pending availability of funds. 

Haines Family Field Botany Award 

This departmental fund was established by our late colleague, Dr. Bruce Haines. It is intended to provide graduate (and undergraduate) students with travel costs and subsistence costs of field based investigations of plants and plant ecology. Research location must be more than 60 miles from UGA Athens campus and research must be primarily out-of-doors. Applications due April 1 and November 1. Maximum of two awards per person during degree. Application details will be emailed to you in March and October. 

Palfrey Fund

Students may also request funds for travel to meetings from the Departmental research grants program or from the Palfrey Fund (please see above). 

Cover Page for Palfrey, Jaworski, and Haines Proposals

* University Funds: 

The Office of the Vice President for Research – Internal Grants and Awards 

The Office of the Vice President for Research has limited funds for international travel to meetings. The submission process involves completing a web-based form. The form is accessible from the guidelines posted on the OVPR webpage and will also be available from the OVPR Internal Grants webpage. You are strongly encouraged to read the guidelines and FAQs before applying. To allow for more efficient planning for participation in foreign conferences, there are six deadlines as follows: the second Tuesday in January, March, May, July, September and November. 

Research Travel Abroad 

Many graduate students study or conduct research abroad while pursuing their degree. UGA’s Office of International Education asks that ALL graduate students contact Dr. Kasee Laster by email at or by phone at 706-542-5544 at least three weeks prior to departure. Dr. Laster will provide you with an information sheet/list of websites and resources, an insurance enrollment form (mandatory if you’re getting credit, otherwise optional), and a waiver to sign. Travel to countries under State Department Travel Warnings require special permission and the filing of a safety plan. Travel to Cuba requires special permission per U.S. federal law and you should contact Dr. Laster at least six weeks prior to departure. This information is important for you and UGA. 


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