Donielle Nolan

Donielle Nolan

Donielle Nolan

Greenhouse Management, Integrated Pest Management, Hydroponics, Urban Agriculture, Permaculture, Sustainable Agriculture, Composting, Microgreens

Donielle "Doni" Nolan graduated from Mason in the spring of 2014 with her BA in Biology. During her years as a student she volunteered in the greenhouse and always dreamed of having her own one day. For three years she was the President of the GMU Organic Garden Association (GOGA) while earning her undergraduate degree. She joined the Office of Sustainability in 2013 as the summer intern for the Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden and later as the assistant coordinator for the 2014 Permaculture Design Certification Course. After working all summer in the garden, she knew that growing food was her passion. Upon graduating in 2014, she was hired to start the hydroponic food-production facility in the Presidents Park Greenhouse, which sold $20,000 of fresh produce a year to Mason Dining. She works full-time for the Office of Sustainability as the Greenhouse & Gardens Program Manager for the hydroponic greenhouse and two gardens on campus. She is delighted to have the opportunity to teach the Mason community through her position as adjunct faculty. In fall 2020 she started her PhD in Biosciences and is taking a break from teaching to focus on her coursework and dissertation. However, she is still accepting interns every semester and teaching informally through her staff position with Facilities. If you would like to get involved at the greenhouse and gardens, please contact Doni at Or visit to learn more.

Current Research

Hydroponic Microgreen Production, Beneficial Microbiomes, Pythium Plant Pathogens

Selected Publications

Nolan, D. 2018. Master’s Thesis: Effects of Seed Density and Other Factors on the Yield of Microgreens Grown Hydroponically on Burlap. Virginia Tech. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Nolan, D., et al. 2019. Evaluating the Yield of Helianthus annuus Microgreens When Treated with Sodium Hypochlorite and Other Factors. George Mason University. Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program. College of Science. 

Ebel, R., Fallahi, E., Griffis, J. L., Jr., Nandwani, D., Nolan, D., Penhallegon, R. H., & Rogers, M. (2020). Urban Horticulture, from Local Initiatives to Global Success Stories, HortTechnology hortte30(1), 4-5. Retrieved Sep 15, 2022, from

Nolan, Donielle. 2018. "Universities As “Engines” of Urban Horticulture, a Success Story from Virginia." 2018 ASHS Annual Conference. ASHS.


Grants and Fellowships

Grants, $53,000 Total for Presidents Park Greenhouse 2014 – 2017

Funding, $3,000 Total for ASSIP (Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program) Mentorship (Summer 2019 - Present)

Courses Taught

INTS 210 - Sustainable World (Spring 2019 to present)

INTS 292 - Leadership in Sustainability (Fall 2019)

INTS 370 - Sustainable Food Systems (Fall 2018 - Fall 2020)

INTS 490, EVPP 494, BIOL 495 - Internship (as supervisor, Spring 2015 to present)


George Mason University 2025 Ph.D. in Bioscience

Concentration in Biocomplexity & Evolutionary Biology

Virginia Tech 2018 M.S. in Agriculture & Life Sciences

Concentration in Plant Science and Pest Management

George Mason University 2014 B.A. in Biology                                                                                            

Recent Presentations

TedX Tysons, 2017. Presentation: Growing food sustainably. Salon at WeWork – Theme: Concrete Jungle

In the Media

Save the Bees. 2022. Featured in Article: Honeybees as Forensics Crime Fighters. 

George Mason University. 2022. Featured in The George; Meet the Mason Nation: Doni Nolan.

City Farmer News. 2017. Featured: Meet the budding hydroponic farmer feeding George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  

George Mason University. 2017. Featured: Meet the Mason Nation: Doni Nolan. Spirit Magazine   

George Mason University. 2017. Featured: Grow well-being this summer by volunteering at Mason’s greenhouse and gardens.  

George Mason University. 2017. Featured: Putting her green fingers to work.  

George Mason University. 2017. Featured: Volunteering on campus led to discovering her passion: farming. GMU News.  

Green Connections Radio, 2017. Interview: Easy Greenhouse, Campus – Donielle “Doni” Nolan, George Mason University.  

Horti Daily. 2016. Featured: Biology graduate finds her calling in the greenhouse.  

Fairfax Times. 2016. Featured: Growing their own: Fundraiser launched to expand GMU fresh food production.