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Our 2020 Scholarship Winners

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

Conner Austin
Gainesville, FL
University of Florida

Plant Cellular and Developmental Biology, Plant Chromosomes and Genomes
My goals in horticulture follow the same doctrine that determined my choice of vocation, to improve the quality of life for as many people as possible through the introduction and improvement of useful varieties of plants. The acclaimed plant breeder Luther Burbank best illustrates the philosophy that defines my aspirations in horticulture in How Plants are Trained to Work for Men: Volume I, asserting “Cultivation and care may help plants to do better work temporarily, but by selective breeding plants may be brought into existence which will do better work always in all places for all time”.


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

Davis Harmon
Mills River, NC
North Carolina State University

Horticultural Science
At North Carolina State, I am already pursuing this goal. My project involves developing transformation protocols for landscape shrub roses with the end goal of performing CRISPR edits on elite cultivars as well as researching cytogenetics to facilitate breeding of elite lines with novel traits. Collaborating with Dr. Wusheng Liu in translational genomics allows me to combine experiences with traditional breeding techniques to the novel advances of transgenics and gene editing.


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

William Stencel
Mapleton, MN
Mankato State University

Plant Biology and Business Administration
Growers are the backbone of the horticulture industry. To be able to breed and market plants you need knowledgeable growers that know specific needs for certain plants to grow masterpieces. As I continue throughout my college education, I want to combine my grower experience with my management knowledge to become the best grow manager I can become. Currently, I am an 18 year old grower at Drummers Garden Center and Floral where I am learning techniques from trained professionals on plant production. I plan to work as a grower for this company learning greenhouse management while I attend school at Mankato State University for business administration and plant biology. From there, I plan to take my knowledge that I have obtained to manage growers at a larger company, using Proven Winners as an example.

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

Paula Eraso
Chilliwack, British Columbia
The University of Fraser Valley

Bachelor of Agriculture Science, Horticulture Major
My goals in horticulture embrace the idea of becoming a business owner with science based practices. Marketing is enjoyable as it gives you room to be creative and to experiment with ideas that will increase sales. I am interested in the concept of marketing a locally grown product paired with eco-friendly growing and packaging methods, an approach which can help increase my margin while still following the ever-increasing trend of sustainability. I want to be able to grow crops, specifically ornamental flowers such as peonies and sunflowers, in harmony with the environment. In order to have successful agribusiness, I acknowledge that I must learn to become a well-rounded horticulturalist. I aspire to become knowledgeable in the science behind growing plants, but I also aim to become skillful in marketing, which is what drives a business forward and encourages it to grow.

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.

Laura Delorme - $2,000
Ottawa, ON
Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture

Ornamental Horticulture
I aspire to make Horticulture more accessible and in doing so, not lose sight of what motivated me in the first place. Nature has a way of bringing the best out of people, it is what connects us as a collective. In trying times like these, we must recognize how helping the environment inherently helps humanity. One hand-in-plant at a time.

Brian Curley - $2,000
Ipswich, MA
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sustainable Horticulture
I hope to reconnect people to the outdoors, to plants, and to their environment. I want people to understand the amazing power of photosynthesis, the makeup of the soil, how to care for their landscapes, and how they can contribute to the ecosystem. To value the changing seasons, the complementary colors, and taste of the freshly picked tomato are priceless attributes, and easily attainable with a little bit of work. Can I teach everyone everything about plants? Surely not, but I can, and will, do everything I can do to promote and encourage an increase of knowledge about horticulture.

Layla Saavedra-Lang - $2,000
Olmstead Township, OH
Cuyahoga Community College

Plant Science and Landscape Technology
My professors at Tri-C have all done an excellent job and they have made me see that I would really love to continue my education and hopefully receive my Masters degree and possibly my PHD in Horticulture. I understand that I am setting very high goals for myself but learning about the science, life and power behind plants truly does fascinate me and I would love to continue to do so and to accomplish great things within this industry.


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