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Plant sciences major Nicolas Glynos ’17 has received a Young Botanist Award from the Botanical Society of America, which recognizes outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences nationwide.

“It’s a very prestigious honor,” said Karl Niklas, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Botany in the Plant Biology Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who nominated Glynos. “This year, only 13 students met all of the award’s criteria.”

Glynos transferred to Cornell in spring 2016 after earning an associate’s degree from Flathead Valley Community College in Montana. In addition to his stellar performance in the classroom, Glynos has distinguished himself at Cornell through his many plant science activities. During summer 2016, he earned a coveted spot on a Smithsonian Research Experience for Undergraduates in Panama, where he studied how heavy-metal toxicity affects rain forest tree growth and reproduction.

In the fall of 2016, Glynos worked part time at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, measuring, imaging and data-basing plant specimens and geo-referencing them on digital maps. His senior thesis work with Kevin Nixon, professor in the Plant Biology Section and the hortorium’s curator, focused on the varied morphology of oaks to better understand how they adapt to climate change from an evolutionary perspective.

When a Titan arum – the species that produces the largest inflorescence in the plant world – flowered for the first time in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory in October 2016, Glynos volunteered for hours to help explain the pollination strategy of the plant to the hundreds of people who visited the conservatory.

This summer, with help from a grant from the Fredric N. Gabler ’93 Memorial Research Endowment, Glynos, who will graduate in December, will travel across the western United States to collect and photograph oaks to provide additional data for his senior thesis.

After graduation, Glynos plans to study systematics, evolution and diversity of tropical plants at the graduate level.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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