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Celebrating Our Seven Graduating Seniors


Congratulations to the Class of 2024!


Published May 16, 2024

Last weekend was commencement weekend, and as always it is a momentous time at the college. A new cohort of seniors are recognized for all of their accomplishments during their tenure at Smith, and embark on their next journey. Oftentimes within that cohort are at least a couple of our beloved “botanic garden kids.” This year, however, there were seven!  

More often than not, when a Smithie gets plugged into the garden in one capacity or another, they spend more than just a year with us. Some start in the horticulture and botany courses, some as Botanic Garden Student Educators. Some come in through work study positions, then switch to other roles to broaden their experience with us. Some even spend a summer with us as conservation, arboriculture, or general horticulture interns. All that to say, we at the botanic garden get to know these students well. They become not just members of our community, they become members of our botanic garden family!

This time of year is bittersweet as we say goodbye to these students. We wish them the best of luck as they move into the world in different capacities, some of them we hope will become our colleagues down the line. Join us in congratulating these graduates: 

Giselle Greenberg

23-24 Horticultural Assistant

What a great pleasure it has been to have Giselle working for us in Lyman these past three semesters. Straight out of Gaby Immerman’s horticulture class, and with prior experience at Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory, Giselle stepped into daily operations in Lyman houses in spring of 2023 as if she’d been with us for years already. Cleaning, propagating, planting, watering, the daily tasks of our horticultural lives–Giselle always leaned in and left us better. We miss her already! - Conservatory Curator Jimmy Grogan

giselle greenberg

Daun Lee

2023 Conservation Intern

Daun was an amazing member of our team in so many ways. She started pruning with our arborist and by the time she was done, she was a co-author of a conservation action plan for a native tree species which has been shared with the global botanic garden community! - Interim Director John Berryhill

daun lee

Dakota Law

22-23 BoGSE, 23-24 Outdoor Crew member

Dakota came to the outdoor staff as a senior and she is one of those students we wish we could have gotten as a freshman. She is intelligent, hardworking, and a joy to have on staff. We know she is going to excel in whatever life brings her down the road. - Chief Arborist Ben Green

Dakota Law

Meredith Jones

21-22 BoGSE, 22-23 Education Intern, 23-24 Communications & Horticultural Assistant

I had the absolute joy of working with Meredith over these past few years. From day one Meredith impressed me with her capable energy, joyous personality, and the deep empathy she brought to her work. Through Meredith’s guidance and input, our Botanical Exploration children's exhibit moved from a loose idea to a fully realized multisensory experience, which brought children into our spaces in record numbers. I can’t wait to hear what she does next and know that wherever she ends up, she will have an incredible impact! - Manager of Education Sarah Loomis 

Meredith Jones

Sarah McCabe

23-24 Seed Lab Researcher

Sarah is a brilliant young scientist who joined our team in a very exciting year. Her careful work with seeds for conservation and restorative justice projects marked the beginnings of work that we will all be very proud of moving forward. - Interim Director John Berryhill

sarah mccabe

Magda Perrett

23-24 BoGSE

This year would not have been as impactful—or fun—without Magda. As the singular senior in the BoGSE cohort, she brought both confidence and a practiced hand to project development and leadership. Magda dove into exploring carnivorous plants in our collection; helped other BoGSEs on their own projects; and took on more than her share of workshops, potting-up appointments, and event staffing. But, even more notable was the way she built community within our group with her warmth and humor. - Manager of Education Sarah Loomis

Magda Perrett

Yaz Porath

23-24 Outdoor Crew

I had the great pleasure of working with Yaz this past academic year. Yaz has an incredibly inquisitive and insightful mind, well-tempered with a quiet humility. On so many occasions, Yaz would ask questions about plants, the botanic garden, or just about life in general. I would reply with a long-winded response, certain I had thoroughly confused them, lost their interest, or put them to sleep. After a short pause, Yaz would continue on with a “why” or a “how.” Yaz was always listening. And, although the world of plants lost out to the world of art in gaining the focus of Yaz’s academic pursuits, I have absolute faith Yaz will always color outside the lines… to which we should all aspire. - Chief Gardener Nathan Saxe


Yasmine Porath