Shinoda Scholar of the Year is Aiming for a Long Career in Horticulture

Gage Willey
Gage Willey

Gage Willey, a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo who is majoring in Agriculture and Environmental Plant Science, was recently named the Shinoda Scholar of the Year.

The Shinoda Foundation was established in 1964 under the auspices of the California State Florists’ Association in memory of the late Joseph Shinoda, a highly regarded pioneer of that state’s floral industry. The foundation’s purpose is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry.

“Gage represents the best and brightest of aspiring horticulturists,” says Bob Otsuka, president of the Shinoda Foundation. “Supporting budding entrepreneurs like him is one of the privileges the foundation enjoys in furthering industry growth.”

A 21-year-old from Nicolaus, CA, Willey is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Greenhouse/Nursery Production. His goal is to own a production and retail nursery.

“Gage’s friendly, confident, and professional attitude is perfect for a position that interacts extensively with faculty, staff, students, and the public,” one of his employers said in a letter of recommendation.

Willey has been a student assistant manager at the greenhouses at Cal Poly, is Vice President of Pi Alpha Xi Honorary Horticultural Society; Vice President of the Cal Poly Horticulture Club; and is a member of the College Student Ag Council and the Cal Poly Crops Club.

He also volunteers for the FFA state finals competition. He has been on the Dean’s List since 2014 and has received several scholarships including the Shinoda Scholarship last year, the FFA California State Officer Scholarship, and the California Garden Clubs Scholarship.

The Shinoda Foundation Board of Trustees awarded 11 scholarships this year totaling $21,000 and provided grants to the winners’ colleges and universities. Since 1965, The Shinoda Foundation has awarded more than $847,250 in scholarships to 684 students.

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