AFE awarded seventeen students in 2016 with scholarships totaling more than $39,000.
“Thanks to the generosity of donors, AFE is able to distribute more than 20 scholarships each year to deserving and well-qualified students. These students are worthy of our recognition and support,” said Dwight Larimer, AFE Chairman-Elect and Education Committee Chair.
“Each of the scholarship recipients give us a glimpse of our industry’s bright future, and I believe that all of the applicants are passionate leaders who will help the industry progress.”
More than 65 applications were received for this scholarship cycle, down slightly from last year.
AFE awards scholarships annually, and applications are due by May 1 of each year.
American Florists’ Exchange Scholarship — $2,400
Recipient: Erin Hsu, University of California-Davis
Hsu is a senior studying environmental horticulture with a focus on floriculture, and wants to work in the floral design industry. “I would like to work in floral design or production, since my main interest is in the aesthetic aspect of ornamental crops and how they affect our environment and direct surroundings,” said Hsu.
The Original Los Angeles Flower Market was established in 1921 and is now part of the largest wholesale flower district in the U.S. Eligible scholarship recipients are juniors or seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, majoring in agriculture with an emphasis on a future in floriculture. This scholarship provides tuition assistance to students attending a college or university in California or student residents of California attending a college or university in other areas of the U.S.
Julio and Sarah Armellini Scholarship — $2,200
Recipient: Terah Kalk, University of Florida
A senior majoring in anthropology, Kalk is interested in investigating the preferences and needs of consumers regarding horticulture. “I utilize psychophysics to gather information on what the population is interested in pertaining to horticulture and floriculture,” said Kalk. She plans to enter a Ph.D. program to continue her research.
Julio “Toots” Armellini is founder of Armellini Express Lines, the largest flower carrier service in the U.S. Armellini enlisted in the Navy as a “Seabee” and was stationed all around the globe as a mechanic, where he learned the skills he used to modernize refrigerated trucking. When he began expanding his lines in the early 1950s, refrigeration was new and underdeveloped, so he established a more effective way of cooling his supplies using a system of constant airflow. ThermoKing eventually made his contributions to refrigeration systems standard. Today, Armellini has almost 70 years of experience in the industry, and Armellini Industries, Inc. encompasses many businesses: Armellini Express Lines, Inc., J.A. Flower Service, Inc., Fresco Service, Inc. and NorthStar Transportation, Inc. The Julio and Sarah Armellini Scholarship is intended for sophomore, junior or senior students with a career interest in the marketing or distribution of floral products.
Ball Horticultural Company Scholarship — $1,000
Recipient: Gray Simpson, University of Georgia
A University of Georgia (UGA) senior majoring in horticulture, Simpson hopes to become head grower at a greenhouse production operation. He is Vice President of the UGA Horticulture Club. “I am interested in new and unusual taxa, as well as emerging production techniques such as automation, water re-use and controlling bloom time in herbaceous perennial plants,” said Simpson.
Ball Horticultural Company is an internationally renowned breeder, producer and wholesale distributor of ornamental plants. A family-owned business since it was founded in 1905, Ball has introduced many innovative, award-winning varieties to the world of horticulture, including the Wave® petunia family and Super Elfin® impatiens. Ball is committed to sustainable practices and has highlighted its green accomplishments in its “Sustainability Report.” The company has worldwide production, sales and marketing through its many subsidiaries on six continents. The Ball Horticultural Company Scholarship is intended for junior or senior students pursuing a career in commercial floriculture.
Harold Bettinger Scholarship — $2,000
Recipient: Nathan Nordstedt, The Ohio State University
Nordstedt is a graduate student whose research focuses on molecular genetics in floriculture crop improvement. “My goal is to enter the public sector in floriculture crop education, working at a university where I can make a difference in the education of young professionals in the floriculture industry and continue my research,” said Nordstedt.
Harold Bettinger was a partner in Bettinger Farms of Swanton, Ohio. In the mid-’50s, 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. 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.
BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship ($1,300) and the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA) Scholarship — $600
Recipient: Alexander Schaller, University of Arizona
Schaller is a senior with a double major in sustainable plant systems and agriculture economics and management. He is interested in ornamental and floriculture crop breeding and crop physiology. “After I receive an advanced degree, I will continue to find ways to improve methods, production and distribution of goods in the field of floriculture,” said Schaller.
The BioWorks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship is intended for sophomore, junior or senior students pursuing a career in floriculture. Students are selected on the basis of sound academic performance and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. While not mandatory, it is strongly desired that the student be interested in furthering the use of integrated pest management (IPM) or sustainable practices.
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. 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.
James Bridenbaugh Memorial Scholarship — $500
Recipient: Courtney Phillips, University of Georgia
A senior studying horticulture at the University of Georgia (UGA), Phillips was elected as President of the UGA Horticulture Club and is particularly interested in floral design. “After graduation, I plan to work in a large design facility and eventually have my own florist shop. I want people to see the positive impact that the green industry has on our society,” said Phillips.
Jim Bridenbaugh was a specialist in fresh flowers and plants, designing and commentating at design shows and seminars. His floral industry knowledge, comedic storytelling and audience rapport made him a favorite. He served as President of OFA from 1989 to 1991. The Bridenbaugh Scholarship is for sophomore, junior or senior students who are pursuing a career in floral design and marketing of fresh flowers and plants.
John Carew Memorial Scholarship — $2,000
Recipient: Emily Teng, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Teng is a graduate student whose research project analyzes anthocyanin qualities in poinsettia bracts in response to changes in temperature, light intensity and plant growth regulator use. “After receiving my doctorate, I would like to work in floriculture production and variety improvement research. I hope to work in a university as an educator, but no matter what position I have, I want my work to connect scientific research with practical industry applications,” said Teng.
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 Bedding Plant International (BPI) in 1969. The Carew Scholarship is open to graduate students in horticulture with an interest in greenhouse crops.
Carlson-Johnson Scholarship for Nontraditional Students ($1,100) and the Long Island Flower Growers Association (LIFGA) Scholarship — $1,400
Recipient: Ariel Churnin, State University of New York-Farmdale
Churnin is completing her associate’s degree in landscape development and is interested in urban gardening and design, with a plant-based approach. “My academic work and hands-on experience have contributed to my desire to work in landscaping in metro areas where I can promote sustainability and native species,” said Churnin.
Barbara Carlson and her husband Will were instrumental in the establishment of BPI. Fran Johnson enjoyed a long, productive career with the John Henry Company, a horticultural printing firm in Michigan. Johnson also made many significant and practical contributions of time and talent through BPI to advance the greenhouse industry. The Carlson-Johnson Scholarship for Nontraditional Students is awarded to students re-entering school after a minimum five-year absence who have an interest in bedding and/or floral crops.
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 scholarship is intended for students in the Long Island/New York area studying ornamental horticulture at a community college or a four-year institution.
Earl Dedman Memorial Scholarship — $2,000
Recipient: Steven Wagner, University of Florida
Wagner is a senior studying at the University of Florida’s West Florida Research and Education Center. He is majoring in plant science and minoring in soil and water science, and has worked as a nursery manager and landscaper. “My goal is to operate my own wholesale nursery,” said Wagner. “My specific interest is in evaluating varieties for their use in residential and commercial landscapes throughout Florida’s gulf coast, which imposes a unique set of challenges with its long, hot summers and high disease and insect pressure.”
Earl Dedman owned and operated Mountainview Greenhouses in Woodinville, Wash., and was a former president of BPFI. In addition to his participation with BPFI and BPI, he was involved with the Montana State Flower Growers, the Puget Sound Flower Growers and the Washington Floricultural Association. Educated in rural Montana in a one-room schoolhouse, Dedman had a strong commitment to education. He considered education and hard work to be the keys to success in life. The Earl Dedman Scholarship is awarded to junior or senior students maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA who are interested in becoming greenhouse growers.
Markham-Colegrave International Scholarship — $4,500
Recipient: Angel Matthews, University of Missouri-Columbia
Matthews is a sophomore majoring in biological engineering and minoring in chemical engineering. “My crop focus area is in agricultural engineering. I hope to find different crops and enhance their nutrition or yield for countries that suffer from nutrient deficiencies. I will do whatever I can to help conserve the bio hotspots left in the world,” said Matthews.
Ed Markham was an international horticulturalist. 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 1960s. The Markham-Colegrave International Scholarship operates in cooperation with The David Colegrave Foundation in London, England. Each year there is an exchange of students between the U.S. and Europe, alternating between the two countries. U.S. students should apply for this scholarship in even numbered years (2016, 2018, etc.).
Richard T. Meister Scholarship — $4,100
Recipient: Joshua Henry, North Carolina State University
Henry is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in horticultural science. His crop focus is in bedding plants and flowering pot plants, specifically floriculture crop nutrition. “I find crop nutrition incredibly fascinating and complex, so I am excited to study the major issues relating to the nutrition of floriculture crops. I hope to work in a university setting in extension, where I can help growers diagnose problems and share with them research findings,” said Henry.
Dick Meister built a family business in publishing for specialized growers in commercial horticulture. He is a strong supporter of the land-grant college system and through the years worked closely with many horticultural and floricultural leaders. This scholarship is dedicated to the outstanding accomplishments of those in university extension and especially to Will Carlson in floriculture. The Meister Scholarship is open to graduate students in floriculture intending to pursue their career in the land-grant university system with interest in research, extension or teaching.
Mike and Flo Novovesky Scholarship — $2,600
Recipient: Katlyn Major, Utah State University
Major, a junior studying plant science with a horticultural emphasis, is particularly interested in fruit crops including orchards, use of high tunnels and greenhouse plants. “I plan to own and operate an orchard and greenhouse and provide services to the community that help them preserve produce,” said Major.
Mike and Flo Novovesky have enjoyed more than 30 years of active participation in the floriculture industry. The Novoveskys understand the hardships a young couple must overcome when balancing a career and a family. Their 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 a strong interest in horticulture and financial need.
Lawrence “Bud” Ohlman Memorial Scholarship ($1,000) and the John L. Tomasovic Sr. Scholarship — $1,000
Recipient: Mary Lewis, University of Georgia
Entering her senior year, Lewis is majoring in horticulture with a focus on greenhouse production. She has pursued several internships, including one with the French Heritage Society where she learned horticultural practices of different cultures and countries. This summer she is an intern at the Disney Horticulture Production Facility in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., through the AFE Vic & Margaret Ball Internship Program. “After I graduate I would like to work in greenhouse production or floriculture. I hope to work in bedding, where there is a high expectation in excellence,” said Lewis.
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. He coached expansion projects even into his 70s. His work ethic was second to none, inspired by God, his family and the industry. His scholarship goes to students with the career goal to become a bedding plant grower for an established business.
Past president of BPFI John Tomasovic has grown his family business, John L. Tomasovic, Sr. Florist Inc., in St. Louis, Mo., which includes a greenhouse from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. They produce geraniums, pot mums, hardy mums, bedding plants, ground covers, poinsettias, Easter lilies, bulb crops and foliage, carrying on the business his father began in 1931. The Tomasovic Scholarship offers special consideration for sophomore, junior or senior undergraduate students with financial need and grade point averages between 3.0 and 3.5.
Seed Companies Scholarship — $2,500
Recipient: QiuXia Chen, Michigan State University
Chen is pursuing her master’s degree in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology (horticulture). Her research focuses on the genetic mapping of flowering and branching traits in petunias. “My career goal is to be a plant breeder for annual and perennial crops and to incorporate outreach to share what I learn, especially with middle and high school students so that they become interested in floriculture,” said Chen.
Seed companies — Ball, Pan-American, Goldsmith and Syngenta — are leaders in the seed production and breeding industry, providing new and improved varieties. These seed companies cooperatively sponsor this scholarship, which requires students to have a career goal within the seed industry and be junior or senior undergraduate or graduate students.
Edward Tuinier Memorial Scholarship — $4,700
Recipient: Melissa Eggleston, Michigan State University
Eggleston is a sophomore at Michigan State University (MSU) majoring in horticulture and minoring in agribusiness, and is Treasurer of the Student Horticulture Association at MSU. She hopes to become a greenhouse grower after graduation. “I hope to have a greenhouse growing operation specializing in herbs,” said Eggleston. “I envision that the green industry will continue to grow as companies and members find new niches and markets to fill.”
Ed Tuinier, owner of Post Gardens, loved the greenhouse business, building his firm to one of the top 50 U.S. companies and inspiring his children, all of whom work in one of the two Post Gardens locations. A graduate of MSU, Tuinier was a major benefactor of the MSU horticulture program and demonstration gardens. The Tuinier Scholarship is awarded to sophomore, junior or senior undergraduate students enrolled in the floriculture program at MSU.
Jacob and Rita Van Namen Marketing Scholarship — $1,100
Recipient: Jaclyn Nelson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Nelson is a senior majoring in horticulture-entrepreneurship and minoring in agribusiness. She is owner of Marie’s Floral in Wallace, Neb. She interned last summer at Tessfresh Flowers in San Diego, Calif. and this summer she is working at Bachman’s in Minnesota. “I look forward to gaining the experience and education I need to make my business a success and then expand my business into the high-end weddings and events market,” said Nelson.
The Jacob and Rita Van Namen Marketing Scholarship, established in January 1997, is named for Jacob Van Namen, a true entrepreneur who built a multimillion-dollar business in wholesale floriculture. This award is intended to develop knowledgeable, creative individuals who will improve the floriculture industry. The Van Namen Scholarship requires students to have a career interest in agribusiness marketing and distribution of floral products and be a sophomore, junior or senior.
Vocational (Bettinger, Holden and Perry) Scholarship – $1,500
Recipient: Caitlin Redpath, City College of San Francisco
Redpath is a senior pursuing her associate’s degree in commercial cut flower and greenhouse production, with a minor in floral design. Her crop focus is on commercial cut flowers, with an emphasis on unusual and unique flowers and those that are native, drought tolerant or otherwise beneficial crops for local ecosystem/environment. “I dream of being a farmer-florist, and being part of a changing floriculture industry that takes into account the health of crops, workers, waterways and our soil,” said Redpath.
The Vocational (Bettinger, Holden and Perry) Scholarship requires students to be in a one or two-year program with the intent to become a grower or greenhouse manager. The Vocational Scholarship awards a scholarship in honor of: LEONARD BETTINGER, who was a successful greenhouse grower in the Bettinger Farms family business in Toledo, Ohio, and was President of BPI from 1974-76; JOHN HOLDEN, who had a long, helpful career at Ball Seed Company and was active in BPI since its inception, attending the very first “pre-BPI” conference in 1968; JIM PERRY, who was a respected wholesale nurseryman, who grew Perry’s Plants of La Puente, Calif., into one of the largest bedding plant operations in the U.S. and was President of BPI from 1972-74.