Humanities major turned botanist rises to top of her field

Every time FIU botanist Jennifer Richards looks at a plant, she sees something new that amazes her.

Nearly 40 years into her career, the FIU biological sciences professor speaks with an awe for flowers, ferns and grasses similar to a botanist launching her career. Richards was named this year’s Distinguished Fellow by the Botanical Society of America, one of the world’s largest societies devoted to the study of plants and wildlife that interact with it.

“It’s great to have my work recognized by the society,” Richards said. “Some of the people I have most looked up to in my career have been honored with this prestigious award, I feel humbled to be in their company.”

Richards studies plants in the Florida Everglades as part of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long Term Ecological Research Program. She turns to sawgrass, spikerushes and other plants for clues into how…

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