Dean Furton FIU and Dr. Patrick Griffith MBCMBC and FIU have just signed an agreement creating the Montgomery Botanical Graduate Fellowship at FIU.

“The Board of Directors at MBC is very excited about this agreement. This marks a significant commitment to education and research in botany by both our garden and the University,” states Patrick Griffith, MBC Executive Director.

The Montgomery Botanical Graduate Fellowship will fund a Research Assistant at FIU, who will perform guided research in palms, cycads, and botanic garden conservation. The first Montgomery Botanical Graduate Fellow is Michael Calonje, MBC Cycad Biologist, who will continue his research on Zamia at MBC and FIU, while working towards a Ph.D. in Biology. Michael states, “This opportunity will greatly enhance my research by providing training in new skills, allowing access to FIU’s robust infrastructure, and allowing me to interact with many of the great minds at FIU. It is a great privilege to be a recipient of this Fellowship and I am very grateful.”

MBC and FIU after signing agreement,Patrick, along with Outreach Manager Tracy Magellan from MBC, designed this program with FIU Dean Ken Furton, FIU Senior Associate Dean of Sciences Suzanna Rose, and FIU Assistant Dean of Development Robert Callahan. The program is structured to collaboratively advance botany at both institutions, by pooling resources and taking advantage of complementary strengths.

“This is a perfect arrangement – everyone contributes, and everyone benefits,” states Patrick. “Our unsurpassed living collections of palms and cycads, and our work in plant exploration, when coupled with the excellent education and research tradition at FIU, will create solid outcomes in botanical research for both.”

Dean Furton concurs, stating “Formal and informal relationships between FIU and MBC can be traced back over twenty years, highlighting a record of collaboration amongst scientists. This new and energetic relationship with MBC capitalizes on FIU’s recognized strength in tropical botany and conservation biology.”