The Society for Economic Botany

Fostering research and education on the past, present, and future uses of plants by people.

Student Committee

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SEB Student Committee

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of us – about SEB and the student group in general, opportunities or resources you would like to see us work with the SEB Council to make possible, or about our individual research!

We hail from diverse programs worldwide, and hope our diverse perspectives will increase student involvement in Economic Botany, broadly defined.

Susanne Masters
Student Representative to the SEB Council 2017-2019

Susanne MastersSusanne has an MSc in Ethnobotany and is currently working on PhD research on wild harvesting and trade of edible orchids with Naturalis Biodiversity Center and University of Leiden. Has been on fieldwork looking at wild plant trade in numerous places from Hong Kong and Yunnan to Turkey and Madagascar. Connects with local botany in the UK as a member of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, and the Association of Foragers. Is keen to promote connection between science and people enjoying outdoor pursuits, and writes about plants and the outdoors for an assortment of publications from Orchid Review to the BBC. Susanne works on product development and has led workshops for the Open Science Network on product development, plant identification using non-visual clues, and local plant and garden tours for the SEB 2014 meeting in Plymouth. Susanne has special interest in aquatic botany and ethnobotany.

Betsabé Castro Escobar
Graduate Ambassador

Betsabé Castro EscobarBetsy is a third-year PhD candidate in the Integrative Biology Department at the University of California-Berkeley. Her general research interests lie at the intersection of evolution, tropical ecology, biogeography, and ethnobotany. She is especially interested in how humans can promote evolutionary responses and plasticity in culturally significant plants in the Caribbean Basin. Calabash trees (Crescentias spp.) are the focus of her current research.

Danielle Nicole Cicka
Student Representative-Elect to the SEB Council 2018-2020

Danielle Nicole CickaDanielle is an MD/PhD candidate at Emory University. As she constructed her academic path and learned from ethnobotanists, she envisioned how to sustainably utilize plant-based therapies to fill the gap in the world’s health care needs. For her PhD research, she hopes to incorporate an ethnobotanical approach to drug discovery from natural products in ultimate support of finding novel therapies, supporting local communities, preventing neglected diseases, and providing accessible health care.

Aja Grande
Undergraduate Ambassador

Aja GrandeOriginally from Hawaii, Aja now resides on the southern coast of New England at Brown University. Under the concentration of Science, Technology and Society (STS), she has combined biology and the humanities to focus Ethnobotany. Last year, she founded the Ethnobotany Society at Brown as an official club dedicated exploring the relationships between plants and people. As active president, she intends to expand this network by connecting Brown students with other scholars.

Ghita Heidt
Graduate Ambassador

Ghita HeidtGhita is a graduate candidate at Florida State University in the Department of Anthropology. Her interests center around on Ethnobotany, and in particularly the conservation of plants of both biological and cultural importance.

Grady Zuiderveen
Graduate Ambassador

Grady ZuiderveenGrady is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Pennsylvania State University. Originally from western Michigan, he developed a keen appreciation for medicinal plants in the United States, and is currently research medicinal herbs that are native to the Appalachians.

Jason Irving
Graduate Ambassador

Jason IrvingAfter studying a BA International Politics, Jason worked for two years as full-time forager. He then moved to London to study for a BSc in Herbal Medicine, and set up his own business leading walks through London parks on the plant identification and wild foods. Following this, he worked for several years at Kew Gardens on a database of medicinal plant names. Jason will soon begin postgraduate study at Kent with an MSc in Ethnobotany, and then a PhD in the harvesting of wild plants in Jamaica to supply the trade to the UK.

Matthew Bond
Graduate Ambassador

Matthew BondMatthew is a PhD candidate at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa interested in ethnobotany of Oceania. He is primarily interested in why people use certain plant species and plant parts medicinally, rather than others, and tests how the people, plants, and illnesses around you affect your medicinal plant knowledge. He has extensive fieldwork experiences, and just returned from a summer experience in the Solomon Islands.

Santosh Rana
Graduate Ambassador

Santosh RanaSantosh is a PhD candidate at Kunming Institute of Botany studying Pan-Himalayan Leguminosae. Originally from Nepal, he has worked with international teams from Griffith University, Cornell-Nepal Study Programme, and International Union for Conservation of Nature. In 2017, he received a Rufford Grant to study highly traded medicinal plants in Nepal, including Rheum nobile.