We are very excited to grant the 2020 Tony Kleese Award to Jordan Collins. The Tony Kleese Award offers a $2000 cash prize and media exposure. The board of The Utopian Seed Project decided to award an early career botanist and plant breeder in 2020. We are confident that Jordan has a lot to offer and hope that this award will shine attention on his work. Jordan has an incredible amount of knowledge and passion for okra (amongst other things) and is already working on multiple okra research projects.

Biography: Jordan graduated from Arizona State University with his degree in Applied Biological Sciences and is currently working towards his PhD in Applied Biosciences. Jordan is a botanist, and while he is ardent about many aspects of science, his focus revolves around biotechnology/economic botany, pharming (genetics), and plant breeding. Jordan has worked with Phoenix dactylifera L. (date palm), Fragaria ananassa (strawberry) and his specialty, Abelmoschus esculentus (okra). Jordan’s research applies biotechnology and economic botany to okra with the goal of producing a multifaceted stock option for the consumer base.

In addition to this award, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange are sponsoring Jordan for a Research Assistant Internship with The Utopian Seed Project. This will give Jordan five months of in field experience focusing on okra research just as he begins his PhD. We’ll be announcing more details about this soon, but you’ll be seeing a lot more of Jordan in 2021!

Tony Kleese Award

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