Daedre CraigA Michigan State University (MSU) graduate student with plans to pursue her doctorate has been awarded AFE’s first Paul Ecke Jr. Scholarship.

Daedre Craig, who is currently receiving the MSU Plant Science Fellowship, is the head grower for the MSU Horticulture Organization and has been recognized by numerous organizations for her achievements in research and academia. This latest achievement nets her a scholarship of $8,000.

“AFE received some outstanding applications and the selection process was extremely difficult,” said AFE’s Education Chairman Ken Altman of Altman Plants in Vista, Calif. “What set Daedre apart was her demonstrated commitment to the industry and her studies, as well as her exemplary academic progress.”

This scholarship honors the late Paul Ecke Jr., who made indispensable contributions to the advancement of the global floriculture industry. It is awarded to students who have completed or are in the process of completing either a Bachelor of Science or a Master of Science in horticulture or a related field, with the intention of pursuing a master’s or doctorate and leading floricultural scientists and educators.

“Receiving the Paul Ecke Jr. Scholarship will allow me to broaden the scope of my dissertation research and open up additional education and extension opportunities to disseminate the results of my research,” Craig wrote in her scholarship application.

Paul Ecke Jr.

Paul Ecke Jr.

Since beginning graduate school, Craig has presented her research to several groups, including the Floriculture Research Alliance, MSU’s Annual Floriculture Research Update, and the Horticulture Career Development class.

Craig’s current research project is focusing on using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the production of greenhouse crops.

“Growers have traditionally used incandescent lamps to create artificial long days for photoperiodic crop production. However, many developed countries are phasing out incandescent lamps due to their energy inefficiency; they convert only about 10 percent of the energy into visible light.”

Given the 2007 passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act, which mandates the phase-out of incandescent bulbs by 2014, Craig’s focus is on finding an alternative to the incandescent lamp for photoperiodic lighting.

“Daedre’s research project has great potential to create useful information for growers, as well as improve our fundamental understanding of flowering,” wrote Erik Runkle, associate professor and floriculture specialist at MSU, in his recommendation letter. “The subject of LEDs for greenhouse applications is of widespread interest, and we need unbiased, research-based information on their utility and cost effectiveness.”

“After earning my Ph.D., I will seek a teaching and/or research position at a university or botanical garden. Ideally, I would like to teach and continue research in the areas of floriculture, plant physiology, and greenhouse production, lighting and energy cost reduction,” says Craig.