Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Department ofBotany

Staff - Other Associates - Interns and Volunteers



Program Director Vicki Funk is a Senior Scientist and Curator in the Smithsonian's Department of Botany; she has been director of the BDG program since 1988. She is a specialist on the Compositae (Sunflower family), focusing particularly on the evolution and biogeography of plants of South American highlands. Here she is standing by Kaieteur Falls. You may view her Curriculum Vitae here. Follow this link for other Funky Stuff!
A totally soaked Vicki Funk at Kaieteur, photo Karen Richardson
Assistant Director Carol Kelloff oversees money matters, interactions with the Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity in Guyana, plant sorting and distribution operations, and travel arrangements for Smithsonian researchers and collaborators. Her research focuses on the plants of Kaieteur National Park in Guyana, and on ferns in Guyana and the Eastern United States. You may view her Curriculum Vitae here. Here she is collecting aquatic flowering plants in the family Podostemaceae, just above the brink of Kaieteur Falls. Carol Kelloff collects a member of Podostemaceae near the edge of Kaieteur Falls, photo Greg McKee
Sara Alexander is the Data Manager and Webmaster for BDG. She received her BS from the College of William and Mary in biology, and has recently earned a Master's in Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. You may view her Curriculum Vitae here. Sara Alexander
John Dodge, a retired electrical engineer turned botanist, has been helping the BDG process collections since 2004. He works primarily in the BDG sorting center at the Museum Support Center. John Dodge
Mauricio Diazgranados, a postdoctoral researcher, is analyzing species diversity and turnover along latitudinal, longitudinal and elevational gradients in the Guiana Shield, as well as species variation in community structure within habitats. He received his doctoral degree from the Saint Louis University - Missouri Botanical Garden. View his website here. Mauricio Diazgranados


Other Associates

W. Cavan Allen received his BS and Master's in Business from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Cavan works with BDG (2012 - 2013) at the Museum Support Center and helps with plant distribution and identifications. W. Cavan Allen
Eduardo Garcia Milagros is a biologist from Almacelles (Spain). After verifying the locality information of the collections and checking and updating latitude and longitude coordinates, he built the Georeferencing Plants of the Guiana Shield: US Types and Mapping BDG Expeditions pages using Google Earth. Plans include continuing to collaborate with the BDG Program remotely. Eduardo Garcia Milagros
Kate Nickel 2010-2012, helped with data entry and filing and spent at least one day a week plant sorting at MSC. Kate received her BA from Fordham University in New York City. Kate Nickel

Marilyn Hansel - 1995-2007
Marilyn completed the bulk of the work of databasing (and barcoding) specimens from the herbarium and BDG expeditions, and also digitized photographic collections and converted collector field notebook information into database form. Before working for the BDG Program, Marilyn was a volunteer with the Botany Department.

'Marilyn Hansel. Photo M. Knowles
Tom Hollowell was Data Manager for the program; he kept the databases for the Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield and for the botanical collections made by BDG's plant collectors since 1986. These data are always being updated with new identifications from specialists and new plant distribution information. He also performs research on ecology and conservation of mangroves in Northwestern Guyana. Currently he works in the Museum's Informatics Branch. Here he is (with Chris Chin) having just climbed to the cloud forest on Mt. Waukauyeng in far-western Guyana. Here is his C.V. Tom Hollowell (also totally soaked) on Mt. Waukauyeng, Guyana. Photo: Keith David


Matt Sewell - 2005
Matt was a part-time contractor for the BDG who worked at sorting plants for our exchange program and also handled identification of problem specimens. He spent several months organizing the Herbarium at the Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity (BRG) at the University of Guyana. He earned an MS in Botany at Miami Univeristy of Ohio, and is currently working at the New York Botanial Garden as a laboratory manager for the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics Studies.

Matt Sewell
Debbie Brandan - 2006
Debbie was a part-time contractor for the BDG who helped with data entry, plant filing, and plant sorting for our exchange program. She also worked part time for the Division of Birds. Debbie earned a BA in Biology from George Mason University, and is currently working in bank management.
Debbie Brandan. Photo: T. Hollowell
Aleks Radosavljevic - 2005, 2006
Aleks was a part-time contractor who barcoded specimens, entered data, and filed plants for the BDG program, as well as editing a checklist of freshwater fish of the Guiana Shield. During the summers of 2005 and 2006 he assisted with geo-botanical research in the Shenandoah National Park. He received his BS from Marymount University in biology and is currently persuing a Master's Degree at City College in New York.
Aleks Radosavljevic. Photo: Elizabeth F. Wells
H. David Clarke has been a plant collector and research associate with the BDG since 1995. He is now a faculty member of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and collaborates regularly with the BDG Program. Here David is crossing Kumarow Creek in Western Guyana, about 40 miles north of Mt. Roraima. 'Botanists are Fully Submersible'. Photo T. Hollowell


Karen Redden has worked with the BDG program since 1999. She has conducted numerous collecting expeditions in Guyana, French Guiana and Venezuela. She recently completed her Ph.D. at George Washington University studying the systematics of the Caesalpinioideae (Fabaceae). In addition to sorting and identifying plants for the BDG, Karen has spent time in Guyana organizing the Herbarium at the Centre for the Study of Biological Diversity. She is shown here in Imbaimadai, Guyana with our friends and long-time field specialists Romeo Williams and Claudius Perry.

Romeo Wiliams, Karen Redden, and Claudius Perry
Susan Grose is a long-time associate of the BDG. She recently completed her Ph.D. in Systematics and fruit evolution in Bignoniaceae at the Unviersity of Washington. Here she is pressing plants with David Clarke during a break on a collecting trip along a foot trail near Paramakatoi Guyana. Susan Grose on the trail to Paramakatoi, Guyana
Lynn Gillespie was a collector with the BDG program from 1989-1991. She is now a research scientist with the Canadian Museum of Nature. Her interests include the flora of the Canadian Arctic, systematics and evolution of spurges (Euphorbiaceae) and bluegrasses (Poa and relatives), and molecular systematics. Here she is collecting in the Canadian Arctic. Lynn Gillespie in the Canadian Arctic
Larry Skog is an emeritus senior curator of Smithsonian's Department of Botany. He was the second director of the BDG Program, and served for many years as the Smithsonian's representative to the Flora of Guianas Consortium. Dr. Skog is a specialist in the Gesneriaceae (African Violet family). Larry Skog in French Guiana


Interns and Volunteers

Tseday Tegegn - 2010
Tseday is a sophomore at the University of the District of Columbia, pursuing a B.S. in Biology. She is building Encyclopedia of Life pages for the Compositae family, Eupatorieae tribe. Her future plan is to attain M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.
Tseday Tegegn
Hayley Hamilton - 2010
Hayley is a student intern pursuing a B.S. in Biology from the University of the District of Columbia. She is building Encyclopedia of Life pages for members of the Compositae family. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania, 2006, and hopes to enroll in a Masters program in Genetics following her departure from UDC.
Hayley Hamilton
Andrea Barnes - 2005
Brown University
Databasing of US National Herbarium data for the Venezuelan Guayana (Amazonas, Bolívar, Delta Amacuro) and assisting with preparation of graphics for the Checklist of the Plants of Kaieteur National Park.
'Andrea Barnes, Brown Univeristy. Photo M. Knowles
Stephanie Stuber - 2005
College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY)
Databasing of US National Herbarium data for the Venezuelan Guayana (Amazonas, Bolívar, Delta Amacuro), georeferencing of Venezuelan specimen data, plant identification, and filing of plant specimens.
'Stephanie Stuber, Syracuse Univeristy. Photo T. Hollowell
Katie Younts - 2005
Oberlin College
Databasing of US National Herbarium data for the Venezuelan Guayana (Amazonas, Bolívar, Delta Amacuro), georeferencing of Venezuelan specimen data, and preliminary GIS analysis.
'Katie Younts, Oberlin College. Photo M. Knowles
Molly Grove - 2004
Oberlin College
Capture of US National Herbarium data for the Compositae of the Venezuelan Guayana (Amazonas, Bolívar, Delta Amacuro) and preliminary Geographic analysis. Molly also helped part-time at the ARC for the Research Training Program.
'Molly Grove, Oberlin College. Photo M. Knowles
Nathan Hodges - 2004
Portland State University
Capture of US National Herbarium data for the Compositae of the Venezuelan Guayana and preliminary Geographic analysis. It took both Molly and Nathan to get the Compositae job done, as it is one of the largest plant families of the Guiana Shield.
'Nathan Hodges, Portland State University. Photo M. Knowles
Rosita Tsai - 2004
Thomas S. Wootton High School, Rockville, MD
Capture of US National Herbarium data for Lycopodiaceae, Schizaeaceae, Adiantaceae, and Rhizophoraceae of the Venezuelan Guayana (She was prolific!) and filing of many families of plant specimens into the National Herbarium. Rosita will now be going to school at the University of Maryland, College Park.
'Rosita Tsai. Photo M. Knowles


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