Seven Members of the Next Generation of Horticulturists You Need to Know
American Floral Endowment (AFE) is not only focused on providing prospective horticulture students with scholarships. It is also working to place these students into internships programs in the field.
This March, five students were awarded Vic & Margaret Ball (production) Internships, and two students were awarded a Mosmiller (retail) Internship. Each will also receive scholarships after successfully completing their paid internships, lasting between three to six months.
“American Floral Endowment internship programs provide students with the hands-on experience students need to put their classroom knowledge to use in the real world and prepare them for the workplace after graduation, while providing the industry with top talent,” says AFE Executive Director, Debi Chedester. “By hosting an intern, each participating organization has the opportunity to bring bright and eager young professionals to their own operations.”
The Vic & Margaret Ball Internship Program was established in 1992 by the late Vic and Margaret Ball to provide the opportunity to train for three, four, or six-month periods at a commercial production greenhouse or nursery while gaining practical floriculture/horticulture experience. March recipients include:
• Austin Vonkutzleben (six months at Skagit Horticulture, LLC in Mt. Vernon, WA, $6,000 scholarship): Vonkutzleben is in his third year at the University of Georgia where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in horticulture. His passion for flowering plants developed during the horticulture and greenhouse management classes he had the opportunity to take in high school. He believes that flowering plants are the key to making dull landscapes become lust-worthy spaces.
• Erin Sparkman (three months at Neal Mast Greenhouses, Grand Rapids, MI, $1,500 scholarship): Currently, Sparkman is a junior at Mississippi State University, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in horticulture. She hopes to achieve a career in research and chose horticulture as her focus because of her strong interest in nature and plant production.
• Katherine Myres (three months at Neal Mast Greenhouses, Grand Rapids, MI, $1,500 scholarship): Myres studies Horticulture, Landscape, and Turf Sciences while at the University of Arkansas. She aspires to work for a production company that focuses on sustainable plant production and disease management.
• Renata Goossen (four months at Green Circle Growers, Oberlin, OH, $4,000 scholarship): Goossen has been fascinated with the growth and development of flowers, as well as how they can impact people, since before she could remember. Now, as a student at Kansas State University, she is a member of the horticulture production program.
• Sarah Chance (six months at North Creek Nurseries, Landenberg, PA, $6,000 scholarships): Chance is in her fourth year at the University of Georgia, where she is majoring in Horticulture. Her interest in plant production and propagation began as a high school student, when she oversaw and managed her high school’s greenhouse.
The Mosmiller Internship Program allows interns to train at leading retail, wholesale, or allied trade operations for a period of 10 to 16 weeks, getting valuable on-the-job work experience. March recipients are:
• Kelsey Brazelton (internship at Dr. Delphinium, Dallas, TX, $2,000 scholarship): A horticulture student at the University of Arkansas, Brazelton is the department’s garden manager, where she has served more than 700 hours on the campus gardens. Currently, she is the president of the National American Society for Horticultural Sciences’ Association of Collegiate Branches. She hopes to open her own flower shop one day.
• Keri Knott (internship at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, PA, $2,000 scholarship): Knott’s passion for horticulture started during her freshman year of high school. Since then, she has competed in the National FFA Nursery Landscape Competition, taken four years of floral design classes, worked at a floral shop, and declared her major in Landscape Design and Turfgrass Management at Virginia Tech.
Students have another opportunity to apply in 2019. The deadline for the next cycle of applications is Oct, 1, 2019.