ALEXANDRIA, VA – October 13th, 2021 – The American Floral Endowment (AFE) has awarded 21 students with scholarships totaling $54,500. In this 2021 scholarship cycle, 57 applications were received and reviewed.
AFE is aware the floral industry faces significant challenges to our labor force. Now more than ever, these programs are imperative in helping support new professionals enter the industry and launch a successful career.
“With the pool of high-quality candidates that AFE receives every year, it is inspiring to see the passion these scholars demonstrate in their work, study, and research,” said Greg Royer, AFE Treasurer/Secretary and Education Committee Chair. “AFE takes great pride in providing scholarships for these promising industry members, and we look forward to seeing where they will lead us.”
American Florists’ Exchange Scholarship — $3,000
Recipient: Erin Dobbe, California Polytechnic State University
Entering her senior year at California Polytechnic State University, Erin Dobbe is majoring in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Agribusiness. “My crop focus is mainly what I grew up farming with my family; peonies, tulips, freesia, ranunculus, lilies, and assorted greens,” said Erin. She is active in Cal Poly Crops Club and, since 2014, has worked in a variety of positions at her family’s business, Holland America Flowers in Arroyo Grande, CA. She has acquired two different sales positions in the agribusiness world, taking over her father, the head of sales at her family farm. Erin also was a sales intern in the horticulture division of Driscoll’s Berries last year. “One thing that I believe COVID-19 has brought to the surface is the importance of home improvement and the need to communicate it. This can be in the form of buying fresh flowers for a dinner table or simply just putting in new shrubs in the front yard,” said Erin. “My vision for the future of the green industry is to spread awareness of the ‘Power of Flowers,’ that being the importance of beautifying a home through plants, cut flowers, and ornamentals. I truly believe they make all the difference!”
The Original Los Angeles Flower Market was established in 1921 and is now part of the largest wholesale flower district in the United States. 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. The American Florists’ Exchange 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 United States.
Julio and Sarah Armellini Scholarship — $2,400
Recipient: Virginia McChesney, Huntington University
Virginia McChesney is a Sophomore at Huntington University in Huntington, IN, seeking a degree in Agri-Business Management. Virginia is most interested in greenhouse production, specifically ornamental horticulture, and has held leadership positions in FFA and the Collegiate Farm Bureau. She was a greenhouse worker/farmhand at Sweet Hill Farms in Gales Ferry, CT, and volunteered at the high school greenhouse and coordinated the seed library. This past summer Virginia worked at Agape Fields in Nicholasville, KY. Virginia was responsible for bed maintenance, including weeding, mulching, watering, and pest care. Virginia’s career goal is to own a greenhouse production system that is community-oriented. “I hope to invite the community into my growing space for a variety of workshops and informational sessions promoting the value of ornamental horticulture and offer a spring seedling sale. My experience as a greenhouse manager and greenhouse worker will help me in achieving this goal,” said Virginia. “The future of the green industry is a dynamic and ever-changing future in the face of agriculture today, and I am passionate about it.”
Julio “Toots” Armellini was the founder of Armellini Express Lines, the largest flower carrier service in the United States. Armellini enlisted in the Navy as a “Seabee” and was stationed all around the globe as a mechanic. He used the skills he gained as a mechanic 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 Industries, Inc. encompasses many businesses: Armellini Express Lines, Inc., J.A. Flower Service, Inc., Fresco Service, Inc., and NorthStar Transportation, Inc. TheJulio and Sarah Armellini Scholarship is intended for sophomore, junior or senior students with a career interest in the marketing or distribution of floral products.
AFE awards scholarships annually, and applications are due by May 1 of each year. Scholarship descriptions are available at endowment.org/scholarships.