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Thank You 2024 Scholarship Reviewers

AFE has always had a strong commitment to uplifting the next generation and sharing with them the many exciting opportunities and paths the floral industry holds! We know that financial stress is a huge burden that students face – that’s why we strive to provide for as many students as we can each year through our scholarships.

This year, we received 106 scholarship applications, a 23% increase compared to last year. The number of colleges/universities represented has also broadened compared to previous years, which shows our outreach has helped boost awareness about the Endowment’s programs to new levels! We are excited to share that in 2024-2025, we will be awarding scholarships to 24 students for a total of $67,600. We are currently notifying these students, and will be formally announcing the recipients in the next few weeks, so stay tuned to our communications to meet these exceptional students!

All of this said, we couldn’t do what we do for students without the support of dedicated volunteers and friends of the Endowment who contribute their time to help us with this process. This year, 60 individuals stepped up to help support the next generation with AFE by participating in the scholarship review process. 

Dr. Damon Abdi – Louisiana State University Agriculture Center
Ken Altman – Altman Plants
Tulle Alexander – Altman Plants
Jenny Behlings – J Ellen Design & Market
Lacee Bilke – Madeline’s Flowers *
Lenzee Bilke – Madeline’s Flowers *
Jack Bobo  – North Carolina State University *
Dr. Megan Bowman – Ball Horticultural Company
Dr. Mark Bridgen – Cornell University
QiuXia Chen – Dummen Orange *
Valerie Crisostomo – Black Girl Florists
Debasish Paul – North Carolina State University *
Greg Dedman – Mountain View Greenhouse
Patricia Dewar – Dewar Nurseries
Lizbeth Ecke – Carltas Company
Rodney Fernandez – Michigan State University
Natalie Franklin – Armellini Logistics
David Garcia – Pete Garcia Company/Garcia Group **
Denise Godfrey – Olive Hill Greenhouses
Dr. Ockert Greyvenstein – Ball Horticultural Company **
Dr. MengMeng Gu – Colorado State University
Monique Hakkert – Ball Horticultural Company
Dr. Josh Henry – Ball Seed *
Jim Hessler – Altman Plants
Dr. Nathan Jahnke – Ball Horticultural Company *
Chris Johnson – CalFlowers
Annika Kohler – Oceanfront Farms *
Suzie Kostick – Flora Renaissance
Dr. Charles Krasnow – Volcani Institute *
Mary Lewis – Syngenta Flowers *
Dr. Leynar Leyton – University of Florida *
Dr. Navreet Mahal – Texas A&M University
Dr. Chad Miller – Colorado State University
Dr. Terril Nell – Past AFE Research Director
Mike Novovesky – Allied Hort Sales, Inc.
Raymond Odeh – Industry Member
Delilah Onofrey – Suntory Flowers
Monnaie Pepin – CalFlowers
Adam Pound – Industry Member
Ralph Pulte – Industry Member
Dr. Vijay Rapaka – Smithers-Oasis Company/Oasis Grower Solutions **
Cindy Rapley – Allied Hort Sales, Inc.
Dr. Nate Royalty – BioWorks, Inc.
Andrew Royer – Royer’s Flowers and Gifts
Greg Royer – Royer’s Flowers and Gifts **
Dr. Debalina Saha – Michigan State University
Karen Schneck – Scotts Miracle-Gro *
Dr. Shahla “Sara” Mahdavi – University of Idaho *
Brandan Shur – North Carolina State University *
Ankit Singh – Florida Gulf Coast University *
Dr. Brent Sipes – University of Hawaii
Brian Sparks – Meister Media Worldwide
Dr. Eric Stallknecht – Virginia Tech *
Jim Tuinier – Post Gardens
Dr. Simone Valle de Souza – Michigan State University
Carolyn Van Namen – Vansland Properties
Jack Van Namen – Vansland Properties
Dr. Erfan Vafaie – BioWorks, Inc.
Julie Walker – Obra Verde Growers
Dr. Anne Whealy – Proprietary Rights International
Dr. Kimberly Williams – Kansas State University
Jane Zussman – Industry Member

* Notes Member of AFE’s Young Professionals Council
** Notes Member of AFE’s Board of Trustees

If you are interested in joining AFE’s Scholarship Review Team for 2025, please reach out to AFE’s Program Coordinator, Candice Musgrove, at cmusgrove@afeendowment.org

We also have other volunteer opportunities if you would like to get involved! Volunteering is a great way to get an inside look at how the Endowment makes an impact on our industry. You have the chance to provide input and shape the future of our initiatives. Learn more here.

If you are ages 18-35, you are invited to join our Young Professionals Council which offers additional volunteering and professional development opportunities to the next generation. 

AFE’s Scholarship applications are due May 1st of each year and can be completed through our Scholarship Application Platform. You can learn more about each scholarship, including undergraduate and MS/Ph.D. scholarships, by clicking here.