Tang receives MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award

Keana Tang, PhD Candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow with the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at KU, has been awarded the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis Award for the Biological Sciences. The award recognizes and rewards the recipient’s distinguished scholarship and research.  Tang will receive an honorarium of $750 from MAGS, plus $500 toward travel expenses to attend the MAGS annual meeting. An awards ceremony takes place April 4, 2024, at the 80th MAGS Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO, which is April 3-5, 2024. Tang received her bachelor’s in Organismal Biology at California State University, Long Beach in 2018. She earned her Master’s in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2021 at the University of Kansas where she is currently pursuing her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Keana’s thesis was focused on characterizing extinct plant diversity from the Cretaceous Period (145-66 million years ago), which was a crucial time for the early evolution of flowering plants. Two new extinct species were described based on three-dimensionally preserved fruits recovered from the western coast of North America. Cretaceous floras from the western coast of North America are relatively undersampled compared to other regions across the continent. The continued recovery and documentation of new fossils from the Cretaceous will play a crucial role in understanding the early diversification of flowering plants.