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Four students awarded AFE 2017 scholarships

The American Floral Endowment announced in a news release the recipient of the four 2017 scholarships.

Kaylee South, a Ph.D. student at the Ohio State University/Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, was awarded the Paul Ecke Jr. Scholarship, 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,” said Dwight Larimer, AFE chairman and Education Committee chair, in the release. “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.”

South is pursuing her doctorate in agriculture and is researching botrytis in floriculture crops. 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,” South said.

Three students were named recipients of the 2017 Altman Family Scholarship and each student will receive $5,000 in funding.

“It was difficult to narrow down to just one winner, since the applicants were very impressive this year,” said Ken Altman, owner at Altman Plants in Vista, CA. “Our future is in good hands with these outstanding students.”

Matthew (Travis) Higginbotham is currently pursuing a master’s degree in horticulture, and will subsequently obtain his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech.

“I believe, if given the right tools and earned support, I can work with others to help make this industry better and more efficient than it was yesterday,” said Higginbotham. “I would love the opportunity to have the industry’s ear in regard to environmental practices in the future.”

Nathan Jahnke is a graduate student at North Carolina State University, working toward a master’s degree in horticultural science. He will concentrate on botrytis and postharvest handling of floriculture crops as he obtains his Ph.D., and once he graduates, he plans on becoming a university professor.

“I will be an ambassador and connection point between academia, industry and the public,” Jahnke said. “Collaborating with the people I research for and the people that are affected by plants is one of the most important aspects in securing the future in horticulture.”

Emily Teng is pursuing her Ph.D. in Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her doctoral research will focus on analyzing anthocyanins in poinsettias.

“It is very important to me that my research, in addition to being scientifically significant, is practical and useful for real-world growers,” said Teng. “Applying my experience with the knowledge and research skills I will obtain while pursuing my doctorate will poise me for a position in which I can help the floriculture industry improve, grow and thrive.”