Joyce Chery

Joyce Chery

Joyce Chery

Former Curatorial Fellow


BS Plant Sciences (2013), Cornell University

Upon landing in Haiti during a 2010 service trip, I instantly noticed the exotic and unfamiliar flora. I spent 9 days marveling at the waxy leaves, tropical fruits, and color clashes of the flowers. Almost immediately, I had discovered a passion for botany.

My early botanical training was primarily self-taught through reading field-guide books, and collecting and dissecting plants in my neighborhood. My curiosity for nature inspired me to intern at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) department of Public and Children Education. With very slim interactions with nature as a child, I felt overwhelmed by the beauty and diversity of the collections at the garden. I spent that summer at NYBG learning about how pubic gardens strive to engage their surrounding communities to support their mission and enhance lives through appreciation of plants.

To continue my botanical education, I majored in Plant Sciences at Cornell University. The hands-on labs and vast array of resources at Cornell provided me with the tools to better understand the anatomy and physiology of plants. A summer 2012 internship at the Smithsonian Institution Department of Botany exposed me to the exciting world of curation while focusing my research interest in taxonomy of tropical plants. I evaluated the venation patterns and leaf architecture in a neotropical liana, Paullinia (Sapindaceae) to enhance the taxonomic assessments of this genus (ca. 200 spp). My training at the US National Herbarium inspired me to work at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium while I began undergraduate research in Fabaceae. Additional courses in public garden management, paleobotany, and a biodiversity course in Easter Island, heightened my desire to contribute to the field of botany and public gardens in particular.

As the Curatorial Fellow at the Arnold Arboretum, I am excited to integrate my passions for curation, research, and public garden management through use of the dynamic living, preserved, and archival collections. I hope to expand my knowledge of temperate woody plants—especially the vines. In Fall 2014, I will be joining the Specht Lab as a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley Department of Integrative Biology as a National Science Foundation Fellow and Berkeley Chancellors Fellow.


  • Chery, J. Of Catkins and Pseudocones: A Closer Look at the Alnus Collection. Silva, Fall/Winter 2014: 7. [pdf]