Seventeen horticulture students have been awarded scholarships from the American Floral Endowment (AFE), totaling more than $26,000. “It is always rewarding to see how many amazing young people there are who love the floriculture industry, and we are very pleased to be able to help them continue along this career path,” said AFE's Scholarship Chairperson PJ Ellison, of Ellison's Greenhouses in Brenham, Texas.
AFE scholarships are administered annually, and applications are due by May 1st each year.
Click read more to see all of the scholarship recipients.
Ball Horticultural Company Scholarship
Recipient: Heidi Wollaeger, Michigan State University
Wollaeger, a second-year Master’s student at Michigan State University, hopes to work in the floriculture industry as a grower or manager at a large greenhouse operation where she can test new products, conduct research or grow large-scale floriculture crops. “I plan to contribute to the floriculture industry by bringing my wide variety of skills…in order to innovate new products, and increase the efficiency and profitability of floriculture production. Above all, my passion for floriculture will be exuded in whichever career path I pursue,” says Wollaeger.
The Ball Horticultural Company Scholarship is intended for junior or senior students pursuing careers in commercial floriculture. Ball Horticultural Company is an international breeding, production and distribution corporation involved in nearly every facet of floriculture. Includes: Ball and PanAmerican Seed, Ball FloraPlant, ColorLink, Ball Superior (Canada) and Vegmo Plant, plus 11 joint ventures around the world.
Harold Bettinger Memorial Scholarship & Fran Johnson Scholarship
Recipient: Sarah Leach, North Carolina State University
Leach, a senior at North Carolina State University hopes to share her love of horticulture with the public by working at a botanical garden. “I am interested in creating beautiful ornamental gardens for public display. I am especially interested in perennials and more cold-hardy annuals,” says Leach.
The Bettinger Scholarship is intended for horticulture students, sophomore through graduate levels, who have a major or minor in business and/or marketing with the intent to apply their education to a horticulture-related career business. Harold Bettinger was a partner in Bettinger Farms of Swanton, Ohio. In the mid-50's, he was one of the first progressive growers to convert his bedding plant production from wooden to plastic flats. Bettinger Farms now grows greenhouse and field vegetables.
Fran Johnson enjoyed a long, productive career with the John Henry Co., a horticultural printing firm in Lansing, Michigan. Fran also made many significant and practical contributions of time and talent through the BPI trade association to advance the greenhouse industry. The Fran Johnson Scholarship goes to students re-entering school after a 3-5 year absence, who have an interest in bedding and/or floral crops.
BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship
Recipient: Stacey Haack, University of California, Davis
Haack, a senior at the University of California – Davis, hopes to work in an applied research setting within the floriculture industry. “My personal goal through this career choice is to aid in the development of ornamental and flower cultivars that make home gardening more accessible and successful even for those without a ‘green thumb,” says Haack.
The BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship is intended for students pursuing a career in floriculture. While not mandatory, it is strongly desired that the student be interested in furthering the use of Integrated Pest Management ("IPM") or Sustainable practices and preferences will be given in this area. Students will be selected on the basis of sound academic performance and a grade point average of 3.0 or better.
James Bridenbaugh Memorial Scholarship
Recipient: Ryanna Zoellner, University of Georgia
Zoellner, a sophomore at the University of Georgia, hopes to serve in a management position at a horticulture or landscape company, or start her own wholesale production or retail florist shop. “I have been growing tropical indoor plants and garden plants since the sixth grade … I would like to join a horticultural firm, work my way though the ranks … and start my own business,” says Zoellner.
The Bridenbaugh Memorial Scholarship is for sophomore, junior, or senior students who are pursuing a career in floral design and marketing of fresh flowers and plants. Jim Bridenbaugh was a specialist in fresh flowers and plants, designing and commentating at design shows and seminars. His floral industry knowledge, comedic story-telling and audience rapport made him a favorite. Jim served as OFA president from 1989 to 1991.
John Carew Memorial Scholarship
Recipient: Jared Barnes, North Carolina State University
Barnes, a PhD candidate at North Carolina State University, hopes to be a college professor of horticulture to share his knowledge and passion and educate others about plants. “Horticulture has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. The love for plants was instilled in me … at a very early age … and since my youth, gardening has been an integral part of my life, and my passion for plants has continued to grow,” says Barnes.
The Carew Scholarship is open to graduate students in horticulture, with an interest in greenhouse crops. John Carew, former head of the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University, dedicated his career to encouraging and guiding young horticulturists. He was instrumental in establishing BPI in 1969.
Earl Dedman Memorial Scholarship
Recipient: Tim Staudahar, University of Minnesota, Crookston
Staudahar, a junior at the University of Minnesota – Crookston, hopes to fulfill his career goal of becoming a manager at a nursery or wholesale grower operation. “Nearly all my life I have had a strong passion for growing and cultivating plants. For many years I have worked at a plant nursery and I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of cultivating and selling plants,” says Staudahar.
The Earl Dedman Scholarship is awarded to students who are interested in becoming greenhouse growers, are from the Northwestern United States, and have sophomore, junior, or senior status. Earl Dedman, owned and operated Mountainview Greenhouses in Woodinville, Washington, and was a former president of BPFI. Earl considered education and hard work to be the keys to success in life.
Long Island Flower Growers Association Scholarship
Recipient: Justin Kondrat, Cornell University
Kondrat, a junior at Cornell University, hopes to work in a public garden setting where he can educate the public on various horticulture topics. “With a passion to educate the public, I hope to broaden the minds of many through educational and scientific methods of horticulture,” says Kondrat.
The LIFGA Scholarship was established in 2010. LIFGA members represent growers and retailers promoting research, education, and sales of ornamentals in the local market. The LIFGA scholarship is intended for students in the Long Island/New York area studying ornamental horticulture at a community college or a four-year institution.
Markham-Colgrave International Scholarship
Recipient: Brooke Gasteyer, University of Wisconsin – River Falls
Gasteyer, a senior at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, hopes to pursue her dream of working in a greenhouse growing a variety of bedding plants, perennials and ornamentals. “I have enjoyed growing flower and vegetable gardens since I was a child. My passion for plants continued to grow and I soon realized that I would like to major in horticulture. I participated in the Eco Tourism Study Tour in Costa Rica…and had the opportunity to study plants that I have never previously experienced,” says Gasteyer.
Ed Markham was an international horticulturist. He began a career in horticulture sales after graduating from the Horticulture Department at Cornell University in 1942. Ed's interest in providing scholarship funds to study marketing through international travel stemmed from his first trip abroad in the early 1960's. The Ed Markham International Scholarship is intended to operate in cooperation with the David Colegrave Foundation in London, England. Each year there will be an exchange of students between the U.S. and Europe, alternating between the two countries. Scholarship awards of $3,500 will be made. U.S. students should apply for this scholarship in even numbered years (2010, 2012, 2014, etc.)
National Greenhouse Manufacturing Association (NGMA) Scholarship
Recipient: Amanda Wilkins, North Carolina State University
Wilkins, a senior at North Carolina State University, hopes to use her experience to work towards a career in sustainable development at a public garden. “I am interested in the effect of perennial border and intercropping herbs on pest management for vegetable production and orchid conservation,” says Wilkins.
The NGMA Scholarship targets students majoring in horticulture and bioengineering or the equivalent, and are at least a junior at an accredited four-year college maintaining a 3.0 GPA. NGMA is a professional trade organization for the manufacturers and suppliers of greenhouses and greenhouse components built to codes designed for a grower's needs.
Mike and Flo Novovesky Scholarship
Recipient: Andrew Koeser, University of Illinois
Koeser, a father of two, and a PhD student at the University of Illinois, hopes to become a professor of horticulture at a university and focus on issues of sustainable horticulture production “I plan to continue generating and disseminating scientific knowledge in horticulture as a researcher and educator,” says Koeser.
The Novovesky Scholarship fund aims to help young married students who are working to put themselves through college and have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Depending on the availability of married applicants, the scholarship may also go to an undergraduate working his or her way through school with financial need and family obligations. The keys are strong interest in horticulture and financial need. Mike and Flo Novovesky have enjoyed over 30 years of active participation in the floriculture industry. The Novovesky's know first hand the hardships a young couple must overcome when balancing a career and family.
James K. Rathmell Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Recipient: Christopher Curry, Purdue University
Curry, a senior at Purdue University, hopes to continue working in research and education and will be pursuing this goal through collaboration at the University of Queensland, Australia. “My career goals are to combine education, outreach, and research to ensure the continued success and further the advancement of floriculture for consumers, industry and science,” says Curry.
The Rathmell Scholarship is awarded to junior or senior level undergraduates or graduate students who have a specific plan for horticulture work/study outside of the United States. Jim Rathmell was a horticulture extension specialist at Penn State University who promoted communication and cooperation with horticulturists in other countries. A widely published author, he worked with commercial growers to implement many outstanding educational programs.
Seed Companies Scholarship
Recipient: Kyle Vandenlangenberg, North Carolina State University
Vandenlangenberg, a PhD candidate at North Carolina State University, hopes to work in the seed industry, with a focus on small horticultural crops or novel ornamentals. “I have made it a career goal … to work for a seed company that will allow me … to breed for unique traits. One of my primary ideas involves breeding vegetables for the front-yard garden,” says Vandenlangenberg.
The Seed Companies Scholarship requires students to have a career goal within the seed industry and be junior or senior level undergraduates or graduate students. Seed Companies - Ball, Pan-American, Goldsmith and Novartis, are leaders in the seed production and breeding industry, providing new, improved varieties. These seed companies co-operatively sponsor this scholarship.
John L. Tomasovic Sr. Scholarship
Recipient: Elizabeth Brooks, University of Georgia
Brooks, a senior at the University of Georgia, hopes to become a grower or manager for a business that markets flower and plants for garden use. “My classes at UGA have allowed me to see some of the most beautiful gardens in Georgia, as well as the work that goes into growing those plants. I would like to help a company provide the best quality plants at the most reasonable price,” says Brooks.
The Tomasovic Scholarship offers special consideration for sophomore, junior, or senior undergraduate students with financial need and a grade point average between 3.0 and 3.5. John L. Tomasovic, Sr., past president of BPFI, is owner of his family business, Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc., in St. Louis, Missouri (formerly John L. Tomasovic, Sr., Inc.) which includes greenhouses from 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. They produce bedding plants, fall mums, ground covers, poinsettias, Easter lilies, and sell nursery stock and dry sales of bulbs. The business began with his father in 1931.
Ed Tuinier Memorial Scholarship
Recipient: Kathleen Van Driessche, Michigan State University
Recipient: Kyle Tuiner, Michigan State University
Van Driessche, a junior at Michigan State University, hopes to grow annuals and seasonal plants such as poinsettias. “My goal after I graduate is to find a job … at a medium to large production greenhouse where I can become the head grower,” says Van Driessche.
Tuinier, a senior at Michigan State University, hopes to expand upon his existing skills working in a greenhouse. “In the future I would like to know how to fully run a greenhouse yearlong so I can make a full time career of greenhouse operation,” says Tuiner.
The Tuinier scholarship is awarded to sophomore, junior, or senior undergraduate students enrolled in the floriculture program at Michigan State University. Ed Tuinier, owner of Post Gardens, loved the greenhouse business, building his firm to one of the top 50 U.S. companies, inspiring his children, all of whom work in one of the two Post Gardens locations. A graduate of Michigan State University, Ed was a major benefactor of the MSU horticulture program and demonstration gardens.
Jacob & Rita Van Namen Marketing Scholarship
Recipient: Andrew Scruggs, North Carolina State University
Scruggs, a junior at North Carolina State University, hopes to start his own horticulture production business and own his own greenhouse facility to produce vegetable plants, bedding flowers, and hanging baskets. “During high school I had my own greenhouse business, where I grew a variety of vegetable plants and bedding plants … I would like to restart and expand this business,” says Scruggs.
The Jacob & Rita Van Namen Marketing Scholarship, established in January 1997, requires students have a career interest in agribusiness marketing and distribution of floral products and be of sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Jacob Van Namen is a true entrepreneur who built a multimillion dollar business in wholesale floriculture. This award is intended to develop knowledgeable, creative individuals to improve the floriculture industry.
Bud Ohlman Memorial Scholarship & Vocational (Bettinger, Holden & Perry) Scholarship
Recipient: Joshua Henry, The Ohio State University
Henry, a sophomore at The Ohio State University, hopes to own and operate his own greenhouse business where he plans to grow a variety of plants for wholesale and retail. “I’ve been interested in horticulture from a very young age, and as I have gained experience, my interest has grown stronger. I would like to begin a career working as a grower and eventually have my own greenhouses,” says Henry.
The Bud Ohlman Scholarship requires students have a career goal of becoming a bedding plant grower for an established business and have junior or senior status. Bud Ohlman was a hands-on grower in his family business, expanding the truck gardening operation to include greenhouses, bedding plant and flowering annuals production. During the off-season he coached expansion projects, even into his 70's. Bud's work ethic was second to none, inspired by his God, his family, and his industry.
The Vocational (Bettinger, Holden & Perry) Scholarship requires students to be in a 1 or 2 year program with the intent to become a grower or greenhouse manager. The Vocational Scholarship is awarded in honor of: Leonard Bettinger - a successful greenhouse grower in the Bettinger Farms family business in Toledo, Ohio, and was president of the BPI trade association from 1974-1976; John Holden - who had a long, helpful career at Ball Seed Co. and was active in the BPI trade association since its inception, attending the very first "pre-BPI" conference in 1968; and Jim Perry - a respected wholesale nurseryman who grew Perry's Plants of La Puente, California into one of the largest bedding plat operations in the U.S and was president of BPI from 1972-1974.