AFE announced the recipient of the 2017 Paul Ecke, Jr. Scholarship.

Kaylee South, a Ph.D. student at The Ohio State University – OARDC, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship ($5,000 for two consecutive years).

“There were a record number of applications this year, which shows the growing interest and need for AFE scholarships. The high quality of students is a testament to their exceptional determination and passion, and I am confident these future leaders will help the industry progress,” said Dwight Larimer, AFE Chairman and Education Committee Chair.

Kaylee South

Kaylee is pursuing her Ph.D. in agriculture and is researching botrytis in floriculture crops. Her focus is isolating bacteria that has beneficial qualities in floriculture crops that can be successfully applied to control botrytis.

“I am striving to reach my professional goals which include not only learning in classes and working in the lab, but also presenting my work, research and results in conferences and other meetings,” said Kaylee.

Her future career goal is to work at a land-grant university teaching and working in research with floriculture crops.

“I want to pass on the knowledge and passion that my agriculture teachers and college instructors gave to me. Because of the opportunities I have had to travel, learn and meet new people, I have been given what I need to bloom where I have been planted,” she said.

In 2015, Kaylee received her Bachelor of Science in agriculture at the University of Georgia, where she was also a member of the school’s Horticulture Club and Pi Alpha Xi, which is a floriculture, landscape, horticulture and ornamental horticulture honors society.

She also performed a Vic & Margaret Ball Internship at The Sun Valley Group in Arcata, Calif. in 2014.

Paul Ecke, Jr.

The Paul Ecke, Jr. Scholarship was established in 2010 and honors the late Paul Ecke, Jr., who made significant contributions to the floriculture industry and believed strongly in research and education. He recognized that creative scientists and educators are required to lead the floral industry in the 21st century and beyond.

This merit-based, prestigious scholarship has been funded by industry contributions and the Ecke family to assist in funding the education of floriculture graduate students (MS or Ph.D.) at land-grant institutions, who will become leading floricultural scientists and educators.

The 2016 Ecke recipient, Kellie Walters of Michigan State University (MSU), will receive her second year of funding this year.

She is working toward her Ph.D. in the Department of Horticulture at MSU, and her career goals include becoming a professor and providing research-based solutions to floriculture problems.