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Alicia Foxx

PhD Student

Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation Northwestern University and Chicago Botanic Garden

Major adviser: Andrea Kramer, PhD

Research interests: Plant coexistence, Intraspecific variation, Phenotypic plasticity, root biology, restoration ecology


Current Research

One of the central issues facing plant community restoration in the Western United States is how to select plant material for successful establishment of native plants.

Plant restoration in the west is plagued by several issues including drought that leads to mortality; habitat disturbance that harms native plants; and competition from invasive species like cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) which forms dense lawns and promote wild fires. 

Specimen in lab setting

To assess ecological aspects of species used in restoration, my dissertation uses greenhouse and growth chamber settings to address how plant root characteristics differ based on the population that a plant comes from. Also, how competition and population source impacts plant characteristics like the shape of the root system, and how the intensity of root competition compares to shoot competition. I have also explored how plastic responses from competition between native and invasive species future competitive dynamics with plants of the same species.

The results of these studies can help inform native plant material selection from a belowground trait perspective.

Specimen in lab setting

Peer Reviewed

Foxx, A., Barak, B., Lichtenberger, T, Richardson, L., Rodgers, and Williams, E. 2019. Evaluating the prevalence and quality of Conference Codes of Conduct. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hintz L., Eshleman M., Foxx A., Wood, T., and Kramer A. 2016. Population Differentiation in Early Life History Traits of Cleome lutea var. lutea in the Intermountain West. Western North American Naturalist 76(1): 6-17.    

Technical Summaries

Foxx, Alicia; Kramer, Andrea T. 2015. Propagation protocol for production of Propagules (seeds, cuttings, poles, etc.) Cleome lutea Hook. Seeds Chicago Botanic Garden - Research Glencoe, Illinois. In: Native Plant Network. URL: (accessed 2017/11/09). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

Alicia presenting a poster at a conferece

Conference Presentations:


Exploring the role of plastic responses in competitive intensity and coexistence;    Ecological Society of America


Competitive intensity among and between seedlings: what do the roots tell? National Native Seed Conference, Washington, D.C., USA.


Impact of intraspecific variation in root traits of a perennial grass on competitive outcomes. Black Graduate Student Association Conference. Chicago IL, USA.


Does number of lateral roots in Elymus elymoides populations vary and influence competitive outcomes with cheatgrass? National Native Seed Conference, Santa Fe, NM, USA.


Intraspecific variation in Elymus elymoides root traits and its influence on competitive outcomes; Botanical Society of America Conference. Boise, ID, USA.


Variation in Intraspecific Root Traits of Elymus elymoides & Implications for water stress tolerance and competition; Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program. Rio Mesa, UT, USA.


The Impact of Weed Competition - Preliminary Studies. Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area Symposium. Elmhurst, Illinois.



Lake Forest College Internship mentor, (Anissa Loyola)


High school science fair project mentor (Raymond Diaz)


NSF REU mentor (Brooke Allen; North Central College)


College First program, Chicago Botanic Garden high school mentor (Giovanie Lanzo)


Mentor Matching Engine. “Water pollution & plants” (Breanna Giametta)


Mentor Matching Engine. “Effect of ‘Mars’ Soil on Earth Crops” (Elise Miedlar)


Lake Forest College Internship mentor (Siobhan Wojcik)


Y.O.U. Summer Science Club mentor


Science Club mentor


NSF REU mentor, (Giselle Varrientos; University of Wisconsin, Platville)


NSF REU co-mentor, (Lisa Hintz; The Evergreen College)


Mentor to grade school student volunteer (Grace Guarraia)


Lake Forest College Internship mentor (Osja Brinson)

Community Service & Volunteer service:

2017 & 2019

The Night Ministry toiletry kit project for homeless LGBTQ+ youth


Native plant garden at McManus (Northwestern University)


Evanston Scholars panel participant on graduate school


Purple Pantry food distribution volunteer for low income students


Science Festival activity lead on molecules


Session moderator at the National Native Seed Conference; Washington, DC


Stellar Girl Program Presentation to young girls on research


Invasive plant removal service project volunteer


STEAM designed and executed art x science activities for students


Volunteer tree removal, Somme Woods, Cook County Forest Preserve

 2013 & 2015

Invited outreach speaker at Elmhurst College


Science Fair Judge; McCutcheon Elementary School

Seed cleaning volunteer, LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Cook County, IL

Invited outreach speaker at Elmhurst College 
2014 Firewise: Botany in Action brush removal, Idaho Botanic Garden
New Life for Old Bags service project plastic bags to beds for homeless
2013 World Environment Day seed and invasive species demonstration
Commendations, Fellowships, & Grants:

2013; 2018; 2019

Grad Housing Assistant Excellence Award; Northwestern Residence Life


Plant Biology and Conservation Travel Award


Elmhurst College American Dream Fellowship; Honorary Fellowship


Plant Biology and Conservation Research Award


Black Graduate Student Association’s 19th Annual Conference. Second place award for best poster


Plant Biology and Conservation Fellowship


Plant Biology and Conservation Travel Award


Plant Biology and Conservation Research Award


Robert D. Hevey and Constance M. Filling Fellowship


Inaugural James F. Berry Biology Chairperson’s Award; Elmhurst College