COSAM News Articles 2023 May COSAM undergraduate student receives Young Botanist Award: Certificate of Special Achievement

COSAM undergraduate student receives Young Botanist Award: Certificate of Special Achievement

Published: 05/02/2023

By: Robert Boyd

Noah Yawn has been recognized by the Botanical Society of America (BSA), the nation’s major botanical professional organization founded in 1893. In April the BSA selected Yawn as a recipient of a 2023 Certificate of Special Achievement. This highest award of the society’s Young Botanist Awards is awarded to the top 25 graduating seniors from a pool nominated by faculty members from across the country. Yawn will be graduating in May 2023 with concurrent degrees in Integrative Biology and Geology–Earth System Science.

Yawn was nominated by Professor Bob Boyd, Department of Biological Sciences, who said: “I am thrilled that Noah was selected for this prestigious recognition! He is only the fourth Auburn student to receive a BSA Certificate of Special Achievement in the 34-year history of the award. I have been privileged to have had Noah in two of my classes, and he has worked with me on undergraduate research for the past three years. He is a remarkable young man and we at Auburn can be proud of his achievements to date, and I’m sure he will continue his success in his new job.”

Yawn’s nomination for this honor was supported by two Auburn alumni. James (Eddie) Watkins, B.S. Botany (class of 1997) and Professor of Biology at Colgate University in New York, said: “Noah is already a remarkable field naturalist with a contagious enthusiasm for any and all things cool-plant-related. He is the type of student that has a unique view of the world around him and who requires both his peers and instructors to look more closely at natural history.”

The second supporting letter was written by T. Wayne Barger (PhD in Biological Sciences from AU in 2000), who serves as the Alabama State Botanist with the Natural Heritage Section of the State Lands Division, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Barger said: “With wide-ranging interests in areas that are complementary, Noah tirelessly applies his geoscience and botanical degrees in real-world/field applications. This enables him to understand plant-soil relationships and locate uncommon/undocumented species across the state. With impressive attention to detail, he is always eager to learn about new concepts (and new plant species!).”

When asked to comment on his award, Yawn said: “I have been extremely fortunate and thankful to grow exponentially as an upcoming botanist here at Auburn during a time when studying botany is difficult thanks to three very important mentors in my AU undergraduate career, Dr. Boyd, Dr. Barger, and Patrick Thompson. They, among many other mentors and colleagues at Auburn and in the southeastern botanical community, have made much of my passion for, and growth, as a field botanist possible. From daylighting endangered pitcher plant and orchid bogs in the mountains of Alabama with the AU Davis Arboretum and Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance, to learning about tropical fern and lycophyte diversity across Costa Rica, and even exploring alpine plant communities during the BSA’s Botany 2022 conference in Alaska, my heart is full and I am grateful.”

Latest Headlines
Select a year below.

Stay Connected