Recently, the American Floral Endowment (AFE) awarded 17 students with scholarships for 2016 totaling more than $35,000.
One of these scholarships is the Richard T. Meister Scholarship, named after Dick Meister, who built Meister Media Worldwide, a family business in publishing for specialized growers in commercial horticulture and agriculture, and the parent company of Greenhouse Grower magazine. The scholarship is dedicated to the outstanding accomplishments of those in university Extension and especially to Will Carlson in floriculture. The Meister Scholarship is open to graduate students in floriculture intending to pursue their career in the land-grant university system with interest in research, Extension, or teaching.
The recipient of the 2016 Richard T. Meister Scholarship is Joshua Henry of North Carolina State University. Henry is a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in horticultural science. His crop focus is in bedding plants and flowering pot plants, specifically floriculture crop nutrition.
Greenhouse Grower asked Henry about his current research interests, what he likes best about the industry, and where he sees his career headed in the future.
Greenhouse Grower (GG): What made you interested in pursuing a career in floriculture?
Joshua Henry: I first became interested in a career in floriculture when I was in the fourth grade at a Cleveland public elementary school. Every fourth grade student there was required to take a gardening class taught by the Ohio State Extension Master Gardeners, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I continued volunteering with the Master Gardeners every summer after the class, and when I graduated high school, I knew that I wanted to study horticulture. I searched for programs and found the Greenhouse and Nursery Production program at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. After starting that program, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to work in the greenhouse industry for the rest of my life.
GG: What areas of research are you currently working on?
Henry: I am currently researching some aspects of floriculture crop nutrition, specifically with phosphorus fertilization. I am looking at several aspects of low phosphorus fertilization on various bedding and pot plant crops. Some crops I’ve worked with are petunias, ornamental peppers, sunflowers, New Guinea impatiens, angelonia, and vinca. Some of my research has looked at using low phosphorus concentrations as an alternative method of growth control, as well as the deficiency conditions that occur when rates are too low.
GG: Where do you see the next phase of your career in horticulture?
Henry: After completing my M.S., I plan to continue on for a Ph.D., still studying floriculture crop nutrition. After completing my education, I hope to obtain an academic position with a research and Extension appointment. I hope to be able to work directly with growers and to help by studying the important growing issues they face.
GG: What do you like most about this industry?
Henry: The thing I like the most about our industry is the people. The floriculture industry has such a tight-knit community, and I love the passion for growing that we all share. Working hard to provide beauty to the world is such a worthwhile endeavor.
GG: What are some of your other interests outside of floriculture?
Henry: Although floriculture (and educational) activities take up the majority of my time, I enjoy traveling with my wife and visiting new places whenever we have the opportunity.