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A Promising Future for Floral: AFE’s 2024 Internship Recipients

The next generation of the floral industry is getting ready to kickstart their hands-on internships at top production and retail operations around the country through AFE’s Vic & Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program and Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program. This year, nine exceptional students passionate about floriculture have been awarded internships through the Endowment’s programs. 

These programs place students in paid internships, and awardscholarships upon completion. The scholarships help provide students with additional financial security as they finish their academic studies and prepare to enter the floral industry after graduation. 

The Vic & Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program places students at commercial production greenhouses or nurseries for three-, four-, or six-month durations and provides a scholarship of up to $6,000, depending on the length of their internship. Vic & Margaret Ball Interns also qualify for our Paul Thomas Floriculture Production Intern of the Year Award. This prestigious award recognizes students with exceptional participation in their internship and grants them paid hotel, registration, and airfare to the Cultivate conference, $500 spending cash for the event week, networking and photo opportunities with the AFE team, and a featured article in AFE publications. You can read more about this year’s Paul Thomas Floriculture Production Intern of the Year Awards here. 

The Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program places students at leading floral retail, wholesale, or supplier businesses for a period of 10-16 weeks, with a $2,000 scholarship upon their completion of the program. Depending on their placement, Mosmiller interns often hone their floral design skills, learn more about the ins-and-outs of managing a floral business, and improve their customer service skills.

Both of these programs are beneficial for the industry as a whole – they allow companies to bring new, forward-thinking talent to their operations, while aspiring floriculture students get a chance to hone their skills outside of the classroom and immerse themselves in direct professional experience. The Endowment is proud to support and help these students along each step of their journey and careers.

“I am deeply committed to pursuing a future working with plants, and am so excited to take the first step of this journey through the Vic & Margaret Ball Internship,” Brianna Wilson, one of our 2024 Interns, said. “I feel my passion, dedication, and experience will be a solid contribution to the wellness of the floral industry, and I know I can make a meaningful impact in my time as an intern!”

Congratulations to this year’s new interns. We are so excited to welcome you to the floriculture community and see the amazing things you do!

2024 AFE Internship Recipient, Brianna Wilson
Brianna Wilson

Brianna is completing a 4-month internship (May-September 2024) at Altman Plants in Peyton, Colorado.
Scholarship award: $4,000.

Brianna is attending Texas State University and majoring in Horticulture. She is deeply committed to pursuing a future working with plants and is eager to learn and experience everything that comes along with working in the industry. Brianna hopes to sustain her never-ending thirst for knowledge of plants with consistent, practical experience through the Vic & Margaret Ball Internship.

2024 AFE Internship Recipient, Lauren Swearingen
Lauren Swearingen

Lauren is completing a 3-month internship (May-August 2024) at Altman Plants in Peyton, Colorado.
Scholarship award: $1,500.

Lauren is majoring in Horticulture Production at Kansas State University. Her future career goal is to have a small-scale greenhouse and nursery that combines plants with some kind of social space, and likes the idea of a business where people can be surrounded by plants with coffee and/or music. 

2024 AFE Internship Recipient, Aubrey McKenna
Aubrey Mckenna

Aubrey is completing a 3-month internship (May-August 2024) at Emerald Coast Growers in Pensacola, Florida.
Scholarship award: $1,500.

Aubrey is currently a student at Kansas State University majoring in Horticulture. She is looking forward to being immersed in the industry through this internship and is excited to find her niche in horticulture. Her future career goal is to either work in a greenhouse growing and selling flowers, or own a farm where she can grow flowers and make arrangements with them.

2024 AFE Internship Recipient, Haley Kost
Haley Kost

Haley will complete a 3-month internship (June – September 2024) at North Creek Nurseries in Landenberg, Pennsylvania.
Scholarship award: $1,500.

Haley is a student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, majoring in Plant Science—Environmental Horticulture. She grew up in the heart of San Diego, where she found a passion for plants during COVID-19. Haley is excited to pursue a lifelong career in agriculture, hoping to one day have a job in landscaping, where she can create and plant landscaping designs with a focus on tropical or native plants.

2024 AFE Intern, Rebekah Zobell
Rebekah Zobell

Rebekah is completing a 3-month internship (May-August 2024) at PlantPeddler in Cresco, Iowa.
Scholarship award: $1,500.

Rebekah is attending Colorado State University, majoring in Horticulture. As a kid, her future career path was clear: to work with plants for the rest of her life. Rebekah states, “I am ambitious about this field, and I cannot wait to make my own impact on it.” She is delighted at the resources and possibilities that the Vic and Margaret Ball Internship program presents.

2024 AFE Intern, Samantha Elizabeth Donoghue
Samantha Elizabeth Donoghue

Samantha will complete a 6-month internship (January 2025 – July 2025) at Tagawa Greenhouses in Brighton, Colorado.
Scholarship award: $6,000.

Samantha is a student at SUNY Cobleskill, majoring in Plant Science. She was first introduced to plants in high school and quickly discovered her love for this kind of work. She is excited to gain insight from peers in greenhouse management production. Samantha states, “With this program, I’ve been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain an abundance of knowledge that will help me in any future floral job.” 

2024 AFE Intern, Alivia Beanland
Alivia Beanland

Alivia is completing a 13-week internship (May 2024 – August 2024) at Tiger Garden in Columbia, Missouri.
Scholarship Award: $2,000. 

Alivia is currently a student at the University of Missouri, majoring in Agriculture Education. Alivia hopes that being involved with this program will help her expand her knowledge of the floriculture industry even further so that one day, she can teach others about this industry, what it has to offer, and how to run an effective business.

2024 AFE Intern, Maria Cervantes
Maria Cervantes

Maria is completing a 13-week internship (June – September 2024) with Poly Plant & Floral Shop in San Luis Obispo, California.
Scholarship Award $2,000.

Maria attends California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, majoring in Plant Science. “I firmly believe an internship, such as the Mosmiller internship, can present me with an invaluable opportunity to gather insight into the retail and wholesale aspects of the operation,” Maria said. She wants to go into cut flower production in the future but wants to see and learn about everything the industry offers. 

2024 AFE Intern, Mackenzie Hartley
Mackenzie Hartley

Mackenzie is completing a 13-week internship (June-September 2024) with Unbound Floral Design in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Scholarship Award $2,000. 

Mackenzie attends California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and is majoring in Agricultural Science with an emphasis in Ornamental Horticulture. “This internship would allow me the opportunity to have the “hands-on” experience that I need to further enhance my floral abilities, learn new techniques, and improve my business skills,” Mackenzie said. She looks forward to learning more about the floriculture and horticulture industries through this program.

You can keep up with the 2024 interns on AFE’s social media, where students share short videos during their internships! These videos range from how-to’s, day-in-the-life, and informational videos about their responsibilities in their new roles. Students also submit an in-depth report after completing their experience – past reports can be found here

Interested in being a part of this opportunity? Internship applications are accepted twice a year, on October 1st and March 1st. Interested students can learn more and apply here. If you are an industry organization looking to employ interns, please get in touch with AFE’s Program Coordinator, Candice Musgrove, at cmusgrove@afeendowment.org.