Botany professor, students cultivate bountiful awards

PLATTSBURGH - Dr. Chris Martine and his students at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh are producing national recognition for outstanding work within the botany program.

The associate professor of biological sciences was one of only two faculty worldwide to receive this year's Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award from the Botanical Society of America. Martine is the first faculty member from SUNY to receive this honor.

"Dr. Bessey was renowned for developing botanical education in the United States," said interim provost and vice president for academic affairs Patricia Higgins. "It is, therefore, fitting that Dr. Martine should be one of this year's recipients of this award. His passion for and skills as a scholar of botany are commendable."

Martine's accomplishments also extend to the achievements of his students. This year, out of the six students chosen for the Botanical Society of America's Undergraduate Research Awards, three were SUNY Plattsburgh students working under Martine. They were Alex Scharf, an environmental studies major cultivating and studying a rare eggplant co-discovered by Martine; Sasha Dow-Kitson, a biology major who is studying an invasive species of European frogbit; and Elizabeth "Betty" Lavoie, a co-discoverer of a second eggplant species, who is working to analyze its DNA.

Lavoie and Jillian Post, a senior environmental science major, were named Young Botanists of the Year, the third year in a row that SUNY Plattsburgh students have been recognized by the Botanical Society of America. Only 15 to 25 outstanding undergraduate students are bestowed this award annually from North America.

Videos of Martine's students discussing their work are available for viewing at http://bit.ly/EuropeanFrogbit and http://bit.ly/RareResearch.

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