The Endowment’s Involvement and Community Achievements at ASHS

Ping Yu at ASHS 2021The Endowment is pleased to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our community of industry members. From scholarship recipients to funded research projects, AFE’s network made a splash at the ASHS conference in Denver, Colorado.

Ping Yu, a recent Ph.D. graduate and one of AFE’s Young Professional Council (YPC) members, was recently awarded the Graduate Student Scholar Award.

Graduate Student Scholar, Ping Yu

Ping just graduated with her Ph.D. in horticulture from Texas A&M University and is joining the University of Florida as a postdoctoral research associate in the fall. Her Ph.D. research focused on replacing peat moss with biochar to enhance greenhouse and floriculture crop production. Her future research interests include continuing biochar research and extending her research topic to include weed management in nursery production.

Ping is not new to the American Floral Endowment. In 2018, she was a recipient of AFE’s James & Helen Phillip Scholarship Grant. She received the AFE award again in 2019. In the following year, she attended the AFE sponsored National Floral Forum in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she met many fellow YPCers and visited Metrolina Greenhouse. Ping mentioned, “through my AFE experience, I became part of the broader floriculture community through the YPC and networking events allowing me to engage with our industry more. I believe the AFE creates tight-knit communities, which is one of the reasons that our industry thrives.”

As a previous recipient of the AFE scholarship recipient and an active member in YPC, Ping shares her reason for continued involvement in the YPC and AFE, “I appreciate the experiences, resources, opportunities, and support the AFE provides. I’m excited to continue working closely with the AFE and see more young professionals thrive in our industry.” Ping is passionate about sharing her involvement in the industry and passing on her knowledge. She wants to become an established researcher at a land-grant institution and a significant contributor to the industry (like her Ph.D. mentor Dr. Mengmeng Gu).

YPC at ASHS 2021This interest in research motivated Ping to volunteer as one of the Endowment’s moderators for the Grow Pro Webinar Series. In August, Ping moderated 2 sessions which can be seen here. This opportunity allowed her to connect directly with two of AFE’s funded researchers and learn from their research presentations.

Ping notes that her involvement with AFE through the Young Professionals Council and scholarship programs has provided opportunities for networking, furthered education, and professional growth.

Networking at ASHS

 To celebrate Ping’s award and provide additional networking opportunities for our community, AFE organized a dinner for any Young Professional Councils attending the conference. Young Professional Council Members, Erin Pfarr, Ping Yu, and Melinda Knuth (from left to right) were able to connect, share updates, and reflect on the industry event.


Additional ASHS Awards Given to the AFE’s Community

The following AFE-funded researchers and projects were awarded honors in each of the following categories:
(** notes AFE-funding) 

Controlled Environment Oral Competition:

1st Place – Theekshana Jayalath, Reducing Energy Requirements for Greenhouses Lighting through Carry-over of ‘Excess’ Light to the Next Day. Adviser: Marc W van Iersel, University of Georgia **

2nd Place – Nathan Eylands, Influence of Far-Red Intensity and Duration on Basil (Basilicum ocimum L.) during the Seedling Stage. Adviser: Neil Mattson, Cornell University

3rd PlaceEric Stallknecht, Greenhouse Crop Growth Under Experimental Transparent and Semitransparent Photovoltaic Glazing. Adviser: Erik S. Runkle, Michigan State University**

Floriculture Oral Competition:

1st place – Melissa Munoz, Clemson University, The Use of Calcium As a Management Strategy for Botrytis Blight in Cut Flower Roses. **

2nd place – Brian Schulker, NC State University, Hydration Exposure Influences Substrate Water Capture.

3rd placeCaleb Edward Spall, Michigan State University, Manipulating Supplemental Radiation Quality to Improve Time to Flower and Finished Quality of Several Long-Day Specialty Cut Flowers.**

Floriculture and Cornell University Kenneth Post Award:

Claudia Elkins and Marc W. van Iersel, “Longer Photoperiods with the Same Daily Light Integral Improve Growth of Rudbeckia Seedlings in a Greenhouse” **

Ornamental Publication Award:

Katherine Bennett, Reduction of Botrytis cinerea Infection on Petunia Flowers following Calcium Spray Applications**

For a full list of awards visit ASHS

AFE’s funding of scholarships and research make these achievements possible. Click here to see a full list of our currently funded research. Please consider making a contribution to continue these vital programs.