Cunin/Sigal Award Recipients

Our Cunin/Sigal Award Recipients

The Cunin/Sigal Research Award is made possible by the generosity of Elise and Marlowe Sigal (AB 1952; MBA 1954) through the Cunin/Sigal Research Award Endowment, established in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Harry L. Cunin. The award supports investigations by graduate and advanced undergraduate students engaged in botanical research.


Avalon Owens Avalon Owens, a PhD student at Tufts University, focuses on firefly ecology and mating behavior. Last summer, Avalon surveyed firefly populations in multiple sites and the Arboretum was the most species-diverse firefly habit found in the Boston area. With the Sigal Award, she will examine how artificial light impacts firefly courtship using LEDs of varying colors and intensities. This could lead to the development of firefly friendly lighting.


Aronia Bryan Connolly is a graduate student in the Brand Lab at the University of Connecticut. Aronia (chokeberry) has low genetic diversity which reduces its ability to adapt to new threats, such as pest outbreaks or changing climates. Bryan is interested in developing new Aronia hybrids to increase genetic diversity by performing crosses with Aronia, Sorbus, and other related genera in the Arboretum collections.