Longwood Gardens Selects Six Fellows for Prestigious Leadership Program

KENNETT SQUARE, PA–Longwood Gardens today announced the six talented professionals selected for its prestigious Longwood Gardens Fellows Program, continuing a legacy of developing global leaders in horticulture that began in 1958. After a rigorous selection process, the Fellows chosen are Danny Cox (Naples, FL); Ryan Gott, Ph.D., (Etna, PA); Amanda Hannah (Seattle, WA); Rama Lopez-Rivera (London, UK); Anamari Mena (Celebration, FL), and Rae Vassar (Philadelphia, PA). They will begin their studies at Longwood in June. For information on the Fellows Program, visit longwoodgardens.org/longwood-fellows.

“After an extensive review process, we are thrilled to be welcoming a strong cohort of six outstanding professionals,” said Fellows Program Director Sharon Thompsonowak “Representing a wide array of institutions and roles, each brings a unique perspective and valuable experiences that will serve them well in the program as they further broaden their expertise and leadership skills in preparation to serve public horticulture in high-impact positions in the future.”

During the 13-month, fully funded, cohort-based residency at Longwood, Fellows delve into topical issues relevant to public horticulture today such as leadership, organizational behavior, board relations and governance, communications, and other relevant business-related content. A two-month field placement provides a deeper understanding of these issues, equipping Fellows to lead organizations into a vibrant and sustainable future. Alumni of the Fellows Program join the prestigious Society of Fellows, a global network of public garden professionals.

The aim of the Fellows Program is to build leadership capacity within the public horticulture industry. The ideal candidate has a bachelor’s degree and wants to serve—or is serving—in a leadership role. Individuals transitioning between careers are also encouraged to apply. Nominations for the cohort program are open now and can be submitted via the online nomination form here: https://longwoodgardens.org/education/longwood-fellows-program/fellows-nominate

Interested applicants may apply beginning July 1 through August 31. An informative webinar will be held on May 18 at 12 pm EST where interested applicants will have the opportunity to learn more about the program and ask questions of current fellows. For more information and to register, visit longwoodgardens.org/longwood-fellows.

The Fellows
Danny Cox joins the Fellows Program from Naples Botanical Garden as the Senior Horticulture Manager where he supervises the display garden team. Cox actively serves on the Board of Directors of The International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society, specializes in water features management and aquatic plant care, and was featured in the 2019 fall issue of Better Homes and Gardens. Cox is a graduate of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Associate Leadership Collier program and earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Ryan Gott, Ph.D., is an entomologist working as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) specialist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the medical Cannabis industry. Prior to this role he was the Associate Director of IPM at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh. Gott is also an avid educator, having taught for over 11 years in settings from formal college classrooms to public science festivals. Gott is an enthusiastic advocate for sustainable landscaping and has a particular interest in Eastern North American native plants. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Purdue University and his doctoral degree in entomology from the University of Maryland.

Amanda Hannah serves as Senior Gardener for the Seattle Parks Department at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, Washington. She has more than 26 years of experience in the field of horticulture, including a yearlong professional internship as the Conservatory Intern with Longwood Gardens. Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in landscape design and construction and a concentration in public horticulture from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Rama Lopez-Rivera has more than 15 years’ experience in the field of horticulture working and training in public garden settings such as Ramster Garden, Windsor Great Park, Arnold Arboretum, and most recently as a horticultural consultant. He currently serves as International Branch Chairman on the RHS Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group Committee. Lopez-Rivera is in his final year of working toward a degree in horticulture with plantsmanship, with a focus on botanical collection management, at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, a program offered in partnership with Scotland’s Rural College and The University of Glasgow.

Anamari (Ana) Mena has more than 16 years of experience in the planning and landscape architecture professions. Mena received her master’s degree in landscape architecture and a bachelor’s degree in wildlife, ecology, and conservation from the University of Florida. Mena has worked in both public and private sector settings and has achieved professional licensure as a Florida Landscape Architect (PLA) and earned certifications from the American Planning Association (AICP), and the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Most recently, Mena was an Experience Design and Development professional with Virgin Galactic. Prior to this role she spent five and half years at Walt Disney Imagineering at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.

Rae Vassar joins the 2022-23 Fellows program from the Landscapes and Gardens team at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), where she manages the design and construction of parks, playgrounds, and green stormwater infrastructure. Over the span of her career, Vassar has worked as a designer and project manager at landscape architecture firms in Philadelphia and Los Angeles; taught in the Department of Landscape Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and at California State Prison, Los Angeles County; and organized people and programs in support of environmental policy at the city, state, and federal level. Vassar received her bachelor’s degree from New York University and her master’s of landscape architecture degree from the University of Virginia.

About Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens is one of the great gardens of the world, encompassing 1,083 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and grand Conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by founder Pierre S. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts. Longwood’s foremost influence on American horticulture has been through its Education programs, in keeping with Mr. du Pont’s desire to establish “a school where students and others may receive instruction in the arts of horticulture and floriculture.” Since 1958, thousands of students from all over the world have participated in one or more of Longwood’s intensive programs, ranging from School & Youth Programs which educates 45,000 students both online and in person each year, to the two-year Professional Gardener Program to the Fellows Program. Graduates have gone on to leadership roles in many of the country’s top horticultural institutions. For more information, visit longwoodgardens.org.