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By Yiyun Lin, YPC Member

This July, at the annual conference of American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), 60 graduate students participated at the Scholar Ignite Competition. This competition was a great opportunity for graduate students to talk about their research to a general audience that shared an interest in horticulture.

In the competition, the students were given three minutes to present with a single slide. The students were judged by five different judges based on their communication styles, the comprehension of their talks, their inspiration/engagement/outreach ability, the impact of their research, and the slide content. The competition presented us with a collection of current horticulture research and was hosted on a nice evening in Las Vegas.

As much as it is important for us researchers to focus our study on a highly specific topic to allow an in-depth understanding of the subject, it is also important to be able to communicate with and learn from people in other areas of study. This competition was interesting and inspiring, and it brought in more opportunities for networking. I would highly recommend graduate students to participate in this competition at next year’s ASHS conference.

From left to right: Stephanie Burnett (judge, Univ. of Maine), Alicain Carlson (judge, Syngenta Flowers), Nathan Jahnke (2nd place winner), Mary Lewis (1st place winner), Yiyun Lin (3rd place winner), Julie Campbell (judge, Univ. of Georgia), and Ryan Dickson (judge, Univ. of Arkansas).

This year’s winners were the following:

  • 1st place ($300)—Mary Lewis, University of Georgia, presentation title ‘Evaluation of Asclepias Spp. Hybrids for the Creation of Novel Cultivars’
  • 2nd place ($200)—Nathan Jahnke, North Carolina State University, presentation title ‘Sub-Zero Temperatures Temporarily Preserve Vase Life and Quality of Cut Paeonia Lactiflora Pall. Hybrids’
  • 3rd place ($100)—Yiyun Lin, The Ohio State University, presentation title ‘Functional Analysis of Nutrient Mobilization-Related Genes in Petunia Petal Senescence’

*As a proud sponsor for the Scholar Ignite Competition, AFE helped to provide the cash awards to this year’s finalists.

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