Cornell training, African impact.

The Cornell Assistantship for Horticulture in Africa (CAHA) invests in individuals who are committed to advancing the field of horticulture in Africa. There are two assistantships through this program. The first provides funding for a doctoral student from sub-Saharan Africa to complete course work at Cornell and conduct dissertation research primarily in sub-Saharan Africa under the supervision of an Africa-based thesis advisor. The second provides funding for an African-American doctoral student to complete coursework at Cornell and conduct dissertation research primarily in sub-Saharan Africa under the supervision of an Africa-based advisor.

Requirements for African applicants:

  • Already have a Master's degree
  • Originate from a country in Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa
  • Be of native African ancestry

Depending on the nature of the research and cost, it may be necessary for the student to secure additional outside funding. The assistantship will require 15 to 20 hours per week of teaching and/or research responsibilities. Acceptance into the program is contingent on the student's agreeing to return to sub-Saharan Africa after completion of the doctoral degree. 

The Application for African students will reopen in 2024. See CAHA in action (below) to meet our current and past CAHA scholars.

New! Applications now being accepted for North American students

Deadline: December 1, 2021.

This is a new part of the CAHA program and is open to applicants from across North America and gives preference to applicants who have a Master’s degree and are of African-American ancestry. 

The successful candidate will work on a doctoral thesis project that will be carried out at least partially at a sub-Saharan African institution.  The thesis research will deal with some aspect of horticulture, and the major professor must be a member of Cornell's Graduate Field of Horticulture.  The work in Africa will be conducted under the supervision of an Africa-based advisor, who will be an ad-hoc member of the student’s committee. Applicants who are interested in this opportunity but need assistance developing research relationships on the ground in Africa can rely on support and introductions from the faculty involved in managing the CAHA program. See contact info below. Funds will be available for the student's major professor to travel to the country where the student is conducting the doctoral research.

Application instructions:

Applicants must apply to the Cornell Graduate School. Visit the Cornell University Graduate School website for application instructions. Deadline is December 1, 2021

Applicants must also apply for the CAHA fellowship. 

Applications should include the following with all documents in English:

  1. Complete curriculum vitae.
  2. Complete application form: Go to onlne application
  3. Each applicant must include a research proposal, not to exceed 5 pages. (Submit with online application.  See form for instructions.)
  4. Three letters of recommendation (2 academic and 1 professional).
  5. Certified/true copies of transcripts of grades from the undergraduate, graduate, and other post-secondary education institutions you've attended, in English.
  6. Official copy of degrees and/or diplomas awarded.
  7. Graduate Record Exams (GRE) are not required but may be submitted.
  8. Applicants must also be accepted by the Cornell Graduate school. Deadline is Dec 1, 2021 for fall 2022 admission. See Graduate School application instructions.

All certified documents, including vitae and letters (in English), should be submitted electronically to caha [at] or by mail to  Josh Balles, 233 Emerson Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

The deadline is December 1, 2021 for Fall 2022 admission.

If you have questions or need more information, email caha [at]

CAHA's Origin

CAHA was founded in 2006 thanks to a generous gift from Chris Wien, M.S. ’67, Ph.D. ‘71, professor emeritus of horticulture. In the 1970s, Wien spent time working in Africa at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. That experience awakened him to the continent’s need for greater support in horticulture education.

CAHA in action

Life. Changing.

The Sweet Gift of Knowledge

Kalenga Banda studies horticulture not just because of a love of plants, but a love of people.

Climate Change

Potato may help feed Ethiopia in era of climate change

With unpredictable annual rainfall and drought once every five years, climate change presents challenges to feeding Ethiopia. Adapting to a warming world, the potato is becoming a more important crop there – with the potential to feed much of Africa.


Plant breeding project gives East African farmers better leafy green option

Phillip Griffiths of Cornell AgriTech has a special connection in East Africa that’s improving the humble collard green to help smallholder farmers—and their communities—live and eat better.

A man and woman standing and talking in a greenhouse
A group of people sit on the ground
Researchers and farmers pose for a picture

CAHA leadership

Sarah Evanega
Sarah Evanega

Professor, Boyce Thompson Institute; Adjunct Associate Professor

School of Integrative Plant Science

Sarah Evanega
Science communications & science advocacy
Diversity & inclusion
Biotechnology, policy & social issues