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Our 2015 Scholarship Winners

Proven Winners® Innovations in Plant Breeding Scholarship Winners – Two scholarships for $5,000 each

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 two winners of our Innovations in Plant Breeding scholarships and wish them a bright future.

Jason Lattier - Oregon State University

Described by his mentor as the most innovative graduate student he has worked with, Jason Lattier has already accomplished much in horticulture. After interning at a number of notable public gardens including Longwood and JC Raulston Arboretum, Lattier completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Horticultural Science under the guidance of Dr. Tom Ranney at NC State University. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Oregon State University.

Lattier’s innovative breeding work at Oregon State University focuses on Syringa (Lilac) and Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon). He is working to hybridize disease resistant, seedless, and compact forms of lilacs. In the genus Hibiscus, Lattier is working to identify genetic control of flower color, eyespot and double flowers.


Nathan Nordstedt - Kansas State University

From the age of 12 when he worked with his great-grandmother in her garden, Nathan Nordstedt has known that he would pursue a career in horticulture. Now in his junior year at Kansas State University, Nordstedt is majoring in Horticultural Science with a double minor in Applied Genomics & Biotechnology and Plant Pathology. He plans to further his education by studying Plant Breeding at the graduate level.

While working at the Wheat Genetics and Genomics Resource Center at K-State, Nordstedt composed an impressive research review on the benefits of genetic marker usage in ornamental plant breeding, a remarkable achievement for an undergraduate student. His passion is to revolutionize plant breeding through genetic marker usage so growers can be confident they are producing plants of the highest quality as confirmed through marker-assisted selection.


Proven Winners® Grower Excellence Scholarship Winners - Two scholarships for $5,000 each

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 two winners of our Grower Excellence scholarships.

Josh Henry - North Carolina State University

Now in his first year of graduate studies for Horticulture Science at North Carolina State University, Josh Henry was the highest ranked M.S. applicant for the program. Henry graduated with a B.S. in Agriculture from the Ohio State University where he held a near-perfect GPA, and also holds an Associate’s Degree in Greenhouse and Nursery Management from Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. He plans a career in horticultural research and teaching.

In his graduate studies at NC State, Henry will focus his studies on bedding crops including Petunia, Calibrachoa and Scaevola. His research will include the study of nutrient issues and growth regulators, and he will create an easily accessible electronic growers guide for Scaevola.


Mary Lewis - University of Georgia

Mary Lewis is an energetic young undergraduate student who is currently in her sophomore year of Horticultural Studies at the University of Georgia (UGA). She has previously held internships at Carolina Landscapes and The French Heritage Society.

Lewis plans a career in floriculture with an emphasis on plant production and management. She is eager to learn more about commercial greenhouse management, pest management and propagation during her studies at UGA. Lewis’ horticulture professor describes her as having an amazing level of enthusiasm, determination and persistence for her academic work. She is an excellent communicator (including in public spaces), holds impeccable ethics, cares genuinely about her work, and carries out her responsibilities to the letter.


Proven Winners® Innovations in Horticultural Marketing Scholarship Winners – One 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 her a bright future ahead.

Spencer Hoagland - University of Missouri-Columbia

Spencer Hoagland is an articulate undergraduate student with an exemplary work ethic, now in her junior year at the University of Missouri-Columbia with a major in Plant Sciences and a minor in Agricultural Economics. For the past three years, she has worked as the store manager at the student-operated floral shop on campus, where she has quickly learned the importance of marketing in business.

As a result of her experience interning for Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler’s Congressional Office, Hoagland developed a passion for policy. It is her goal to become an advocate for green industry growers and producers, while also owning her own retail floral shop.


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.

McKenzie Adkins - Johnson County Community College (Kansas)

McKenzie Adkins has a diverse academic background, holding a degree in Film from Full Sail University and now working towards certifications in Horticultural Sciences and Landscape Technology. His professors describe him as having an immense love of plants and nature, while working hard to achieve his academic goals.

After living in New York City and seeing vacant land being acquiesced and paved over, Adkins developed a passion for community gardens. He is interested in tapping into opportunities with municipalities to meet their horticultural restoration needs and achieve beautification through green space development.

Patrick Connolly - North Shore Community College (Massachusetts)

As the son of a certified horticulturist and independent nursery sales representative, Patrick Connolly has literally grown up in the garden. His parents started him in the garden young and helped lead his Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops where he furthered his introduction into horticulture.

As a first year student working towards his Associate’s Degree in Environmental Horticulture, Connolly has a goal of helping people learn more about plants and how they can positively impact their environment. In addition to his academic pursuits, he works full time with his father at Weston Nurseries selling plants at retail and learning the ins and outs of growing nursery stock. 

Brandon McCarron - Front Range Community College (Colorado)

Now in his second year at Front Range Community College, Brandon McCarron is described by his professor as “one of few truly curious, talented students” who is constantly delving deeper into his studies of plants and how they work. Upon graduation from Front Range, he plans to continue his horticultural studies at Colorado State University.

McCarron holds a particular interest in plant genetics and tissue culture. He is passionate about learning to use technology to increase yields, cut labor costs and become more efficient. While completing his studies, he is also gaining hands-on experience in commercial propagation as he works as a grower’s assistant at Welby Gardens, one of the largest commercial growers in Colorado.

Jordan Shaffer - Ohio State University Agriculture Technical Institute

For Jordan Shaffer, it started with a love for her mother’s houseplants followed by an interest in greenhouse production fostered by her high school Agriculture Business teacher. As a high school student, she won gold status at the National Floriculture Competition. Shaffer is now finishing up her studies at Ohio State University ATI with an internship at Four Star Greenhouses. She plans to go on to complete a Horticultural Science degree from Michigan State University.

Shaffer is confident that her academic studies and hands-on experience will help her be a successful greenhouse business owner. She is especially interested in hydroponics as a means to grow and sell organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. She is also considering a focus on year-long bedding plant production in Florida.

Casey Tynan - County College of Morris (New Jersey)

Described as “charismatic with an entrepreneurial drive”, Casey Tynan is joyfully pursuing his education in Landscape Management and Design, on track to earn his Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in 2016. After acting as the neighborhood landscaper while in high school, Tynan recently made it official and started his own business, Tynan Dreamscapes. His long term goal is to own a garden center.

Tynan feels strongly about giving back to his community as evidenced by his extensive volunteer work at the West Milford Family Pump Track (a local community bicycle track). He was named “volunteer of the year” in 2014 and has gone on to become the Director of Operations and Maintenance for the organization.

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