Established in 2002, the Paul Ecke, Jr. fund offers $5,000 a year for two years to one graduate student who demonstrates the skills and passion to become a leading floricultural scientist and educator. The scholarship honors the late Paul Ecke, Jr., who made significant contributions to the floriculture industry and believed strongly in research and education.
This year’s winner of the Paul Ecke, Jr. Scholarship is Mary Lewis.
A member of AFE’s Young Professionals Council, Mary is currently working toward a master’s degree in horticulture at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the same institution two years ago with an already impressive C.V. Among other activities, she interned at Walt Disney World Resort’s Epcot theme park (supported by an AFE Vic and Margaret Ball internship/scholarship), testing new floral cultivars for production, maintaining crops and displays, and conducting tours for guests.
Sharing the results of her project, Mary reveals an infectious enthusiasm that will serve the industry well in years to come. “I just really enjoy the work that I do,” she says. “I know that Ecke was a proponent of doing the new and unusual. And I’m grateful that my research has produced some things that are new and exciting and beyond anything I had dreamed.”
Mary also expresses gratitude for the encouragement and mentoring she has received from her professors and others in the horticulture world—and for the critical financial support of the Paul Ecke, Jr. scholarship.
To read more about Mary and the other March 2019 scholarship recipients read their full profiles here.