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Our 2017 Scholarship Winners

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

Erin Pfarr
Rutgers University of New Jersery

This fall I will attend Rutgers University in New Jersey and pursue a PhD working with bigbracted dogwoods (Cornus) and ornamental hazelnuts (Corylus). My projects will largely include characterizing genetic diversity of wild germplasm and domestic cultivars and gene mapping of powdery mildew resistance and bract color in C. florida and interspecific hybrids. I will be advised by Dr. Tom Molnar. Ultimately, I would like to work as a private sector ornamental plant breeder, developing beautiful and functional ornamental plants. My research interests include disease and insect resistance, cold temperature tolerance, non-invasiveness, edible ornamentals, and reblooming. Durable disease and insect resistance is imperative as public gardens, communes, and home gardeners continue to seek cultivars requiring minimal maintenance and pesticide use. I am passionate about cold-temperature adaptability thus offering consumers a wider range of beautiful plant choices. Breeding for noninvasiveness is necessary to keep our native species and natural areas thriving. Edible ornamentals are dual-purpose plants perfect for gardeners with limited growing space and an interest in aesthetic, yet edible gardening. Reblooming is a very desirable consumer trait which extends the flowering season and livens up gardens.

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 two winners of our Grower Excellence scholarships.

Karen Schneck
Kansas State University

I am studying horticulture with an emphasis on greenhouse and nursery management at Kansas State University, in addition to pursuing a minor in agribusiness. This past summer, I had my very first job working in a greenhouse. I worked the entire summer. After my experiences this summer, I realized that my professional interests are more in line with growing plants, but I am not opposed to retail operations. I enjoyed assisting customers, as well as applying my own knowledge. Even so, I found that I was happiest when I was involved in the planting and care of the plants themselves. I am still developing the rest of my professional plans, but I know for certain I want to be a grower. I would look forward to working in the Midwest area, but I am not opposed to a change in location. No matter where I end up, I will focus on growing high-quality plants. I hope to be able to provide customers with a product that they can be confident in and expect to see an outstanding performance when they take it home. A plant’s strength has to start somewhere, and I believe it starts with the grower.


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.

Mary Carr
Kansas State University

I want to use the skills I develop as a marketing student to promote the field of horticulture and the tremendous benefits of gardening to every man, woman, and child in the United States of America. When it came to choosing a college major, I had many options. I chose marketing specifically because it permeates every aspect of our lives. I appreciate that marketing is innately the exchange of information from client to customer.

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.

Aletha Buschman
University of British Columbia Horticulture Training Program

Over the course of my horticultural career, I plan to support large and small-scale initiatives to conserve and restore our natural environment. In my capacity as the owner of a new garden design and maintenance company I will be able to help bring concepts and policies that are primarily focused on public urban spaces to private land owners. With each new garden that I create, there is the opportunity to educate the client and about important ecological principles such as sustainability and biodiversity.

Isolde Nielson
University of Alberta

What I want to accomplish in horticulture is a question that I will spend the rest of my life answering. My personal horticulture goals are to increase my scientific knowledge through studies and practical application. I also want to gain recognition as an avid horticulturist with new ideas. Sharing my knowledge with others interested in plants is another goal. My long term career goals include recognizing and developing new hardy plant species that are drought tolerant and to create something that every individual can use and enjoy in their landscape.


Lorysa Crewe
Niagara College Canada

It has always been my dream to open and run my own business, and with my love of plants, what better career path than to open my own greenhouse. Owning a greenhouse, will enable me to help communities and individuals improve their lives through plants, and I can provide people with locally grown plants that will thrive in their environment. Everyone deserves a garden that they can sit in to let the stresses of everyday life melt away and I want to provide the plants to create this haven.


Leanne Tsou
University of New Hampshire

My goal is to master the skills necessary to manage a commercial greenhouse. I have thought about specializing in exotic tropical plants and fruits. I would like to bring joy to people through my work. I found my passion for horticulture while in college and I have a special love for tropical plants. I am considering transferring to a 4-year school or potentially focusing on a tissue culture program offered through the University of Hawaii.

Paul Elias
Sadkatoon School of Horticulture

Senior care homes and assisted living apartments are only some of the places that bringing horticulture inside can make a huge difference. Yet so many of the care homes and assisted living locations are lacking in living plants. With a program where houseplants that match the requirements of these facilities are able to be provided at a low fee to the organization in charge, there would be no reason for the buildings to be empty and artificial. Unfortunately, there are not many businesses that operate this sort of program. I would like to change that. With this dream in mind, I would open a greenhouse that deals in tropicals and houseplants, offering variety to experienced plant caregivers looking for a challenge, but also supplying easy starter plants for anyone who is just starting to get into the house plant mindset. With this greenhouse, I would also offer Interiorscape design and application for homes and businesses that are looking to bring in something to give their business that unique, welcoming feel.


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