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Our 2019 Scholarship Winner -

Proven Winners® Innovations in Plant Breeding Scholarship Winners
(Scholarship for $5,000)

New flowers and plants are the lifeblood of our industry. We are proud to support students who are committed to developing new and exciting plants in this competitive market. We congratulate the winners of our Innovations in Plant Breeding scholarships and wish them a bright future.

Andrej Svyantek
Fargo, ND

North Dakota State University

Degree Field:  Plant Science

Goal: I want to breed big, bold, delicious plants with eye-catching form, that remain functional despite environmental stresses and biotic constraints. To do so, I will use all the diversity a plant’s species has to offer to make the most distinct plants on the market, plants that fit well at home or on the farm. I will exploit the differences among germplasm to develop plants that remain healthy despite limited chemical inputs, striving to create fruit, flowers, and ground-covers that are morphologically unique and pleasing to the heart and soil.

Proven Winners® Grower Excellence Scholarship Winners
(Scholarships for $5,000)

High quality plant material produced by talented and hard working growers is absolutely essential for any plant brand to be successful. We are proud to support the next generation of great plantsmen and women pursuing careers in plant production and congratulate the winners of our Grower Excellence scholarships.

Katelin Borden
Gainesville, FL

University of Florida

Degree Field: Plant Science

Goal: My professional goal is to become a respected woman in the field of agriculture, growing new plants using advancements in propagation and tissue culture to nourish, beautify, heal, improve our world and educate the people in it. The first step to meet this goal is to not only pursue a Plant Science degree at the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, but to actively participate in research, internships, professional organizations and conferences, and work experience. As a result of my time at the University and participation in these plant science related activities, I have identified three possible career paths: extension, production, and tissue culture. Although they are somewhat different, following one after graduation would not hinder pursuing the other two later in life.

Proven Winners® Innovations in Horticultural Marketing Scholarship Winners
(Scholarship for $5,000)

The importance of marketing is often overlooked in our industry, so we need to support students with not only a passion for plants but also for knowing how to market and sell them. We congratulate the winner of our Innovations in Horticultural Marketing scholarship and wish him a bright future ahead.

Renata Goossen
Potwin, Kansas

Kansas State University

Degree Field: Horticulture Production

Goal: Throughout my collegiate education, my goal is to learn how to combine my horticulture and marketing knowledge and experience. Not only am I focusing on attaining my degree in Horticulture Production at Kansas State University, but I am also specializing in marketing. I am learning how to incorporate marketing into horticulture in various ways and with new perspective. By majoring in Horticulture Production, I will have the background knowledge necessary to market products well and to better represent the horticulture industry as a whole. By specializing in marketing, I will have the ability to apply general business ideas to the position I will fill in the future. Even though horticulture is an old industry, it is also fast changing. Innovative and new products are necessary to compete in such a vast industry. Last, because marketing is the face of any industry, my desire is to create a broad representation of the horticulture industry on multiple levels.

Proven Winners® Technical or 2-Year Post-Secondary Institution Scholarships
(Five scholarships for $2,000 each)

Many horticulture students begin their post-secondary schooling at 2-year or vocational technology schools as a way to enter the work force sooner. Since horticulture tends to be a very hands-on career with much knowledge gained through work experience, this is an excellent way to break into the industry. We are proud to support five exemplary students who have chosen this route for their schooling and wish them the best of success for the future.

Ninway Aziz
Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture

Degree Field: Ornamental Horticulture

Goal: My long-term goal is to use horticulture as a tool to continue to beautify spaces that make people from all around the world feel welcome; just as my parents felt welcomed in a new country. Gardens and green spaces can be appreciated by everyone, can bring communities together, and can provide a reminder of home; because of the universal language of flowers. Through my academic studies of ornamental horticulture and hands-on experiences working in public gardens I am confidently sowing the seeds of this goal.


Kelvin Devries 
Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture

Degree Field: Ornamental Horticulture

Goal: My passion has become an ever-growing desire to ‘green’ the urban spaces that we inhabit using native plant species. Beautiful urban spaces derive the vast majority of their beauty from the living flora that softens and adds life and fragility. By increasing the amount of urban green spaces, we can improve the urban beauty, increase the plant biodiversity and subsequently increase the fauna in urban spaces, educate the public on the importance of green spaces and the positive impacts they have on our mental and physical health as well as improving environmental conditions in our cities.

Kasandra Hernandez
Cleveland, OH

Cuyahoga Community College

Degree Field: Plant science and Landscape Technology

Goal: I want to be a voice for the future “green-thumbs” of the industry and an exemplary leader for Hispanics who wish to pursue a career. Nevertheless, both of these goals go hand in hand in helping grow the industry as a whole. I see a great change and outlook if we can grow from the inside-out and invest in those investing their life in the industry.


Felicia Millett
Plainville, CT

University of Connecticut

Degree Field: Ornamental Horticulture

Goal: I enrolled at the University of Connecticut with the goal of expanding my awareness of available plants for the New England landscape and to develop a greater understanding of their production needs. I will be working as an intern at one of the local nurseries over the summer and I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about the career possibilities in this field. I will be involved in all stages of production, from propagation, canning, pruning, to weed and pest control monitoring over the next few months. I believe that the two-year degree program at UConn along with the work experience I will be gaining this summer will set me on the right path if I should decide to pursue a career as a head grower in a wholesale nursery, and to choose an area of specialization.

Matthew Witemyre
Rough And Ready, CA

Merritt College

Degree: Nursery Management

Goal: I am currently enrolled at both Merritt and Sierra College, and I have successfully completed coursework for certificates in basic landscape horticulture, and intermediate nursery management. My goal is to graduate in Fall 2019 from Merritt with an A.S. degree in advanced nursery management, then run my own successful mail-order nursery.


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