Skip to main content

Dr. Joyce Chery, PhD

Joyce at her finishing talk, receiving a celebratory cake made by fellow grad Carrie Tribble. The cake is a slide of one of Joyce’s Paullinia species showing a variant vascular cambium.

Joyce Chery, former graduate student in the Specht Lab, graduated with a PhD in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley this past weekend (May 24, 2019).  Joyce received her undergraduate from Cornell!! working with now-retired professor Dr. Melissa Luckow on plant morphology and evolution.  In fact, it was Melissa who encouraged Joyce to apply to UC Berkeley, starting an amazing trajectory that passed through the Arnold Aboretum at Harvard, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and the Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute before landing her a PhD.  Joyce’s research investigated the development and evolution of vascular cambial variants in the liana lineage Paullinia (Sapindaceae).  She studied the “liana syndrome” — what makes a woody plant be able to bend, twist and climb? And along they way, she learned to lean into her fears and build a network of collaborators who together – and with her leadership – form more than the sum of their parts.

Joyce gave the commencement address at the Integrative Biology graduation ceremony on UC Berkeley’s campus at Zellerbach hall, the video of which can be found here.  @ 37:45 you can hear Joyce’s words of wisdom imparted not only to the graduates, but to those of us who mentor and advise them through the process of becoming successful, as academics and otherwise.

I was so honored to have the opportunity to hood Joyce as she became Dr. Chery, and to meet her parents and friends who were present to demonstrate their support, love, and the pride that they share with her for such a brilliant accomplishment.  Congratulations Dr. Chery.  We look forward to seeing you continue to amaze the scientific community with your innovative scholarship!

Skip to toolbar