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|Meet The HortScholars|
Meet The 2019 HortScholars
The AmericanHort HortScholars program sets students in horticulture on a path to success by exposing them to the breadth of the horticulture industry, its opportunities and its leaders. The program offers a beyond-the-classroom experience, giving insight and awareness of the industry, its supply chain, and where the scholars might find a home for their passion. The focus of the program is on professional development, including attending educational session, networking and working with industry mentors at Cultivate.
AmericanHort is pleased to present the 2019 HortScholars. Get to know them in their own words.
Josiah Bale - The Ohio State University - ATI
My love of plants started in my first years of 4-H when my mom made me take a gardening project. I was convinced I wasn't going to like it, but I surprisingly loved it! I took gardening projects every remaining year I had in the program. I then decided to pursue Greenhouse and Nursery Management at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. This education has provided the opportunity to complete several internships including at a wholesale nursery, retail garden center, and even a non-profit aquaponic facility. I am currently at The Ohio State University main campus finishing my bachelor’s degree in Horticultural Science. I can't wait to pursue my career in the industry!
Kalyn Helms - University of Arkansas
Growing up, I had always enjoyed nature and art. It wasn’t until college I realized I could combine the two into a career. Floriculture allows me to continue my love for growing and researching plants, while being able to turn around and produce a floral arrangement. After interning as a Rotational Intern at Longwood Gardens, I was able to limit my scope of interest to greenhouse production. That incredible experience furthered my passion and led to me now being an Undergraduate Research Assistant in greenhouse production at the University of Arkansas, where I am currently a senior majoring in Horticulture, Landscape, and Turf Science with an emphasis in Greenhouse Production and a German minor. I will be graduating in May, and I hope to do research on sustainable alternatives in the field of floriculture so that I may promote and progress our field toward a sustainable future. The impact we make now will affect generations to come, and I hope to make it a positive one.
Marcus Jansen - Iowa State University
Growing up in a farm family with a history of livestock, row crop, and Christmas tree production in rural western Illinois, my passion for plants took root from the beginning. It was through the youth programs of 4-H and FFA that I gained hands on experience, exposure, and the inspiration to pursue a degree in horticulture at Iowa State University. Recognizing my wide range of interests across our industry, I was incredibly fortunate to engagement in internship programs with Bachmans Inc. (Minneapolis, MN), the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University (Boston, MA), and Ball Horticultural Company (Chicago, IL). In May of 2018, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and chose to continue my adventure at Iowa State for graduate school. I am currently working on my master’s degree with Dr. Diana Cochran in the Department of Horticulture, where we are looking into the physiological responses and performance of peach and nectarine trees grown in a high tunnel production system compared to a conventional field production system. Through all my experiences across this field, I have discovered that horticulture truly feeds my passion for plants, knack for creativity, and desire to work with others!
Andrew Kielion - College of DuPage
I am currently a student in the Horticulture Program at College of DuPage pursuing a Horticulture AAS, Greenhouse Management Certificate, and Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate. I am highly passionate about the field of horticulture and plan to one day obtain a master’s degree in plant breeding and genetics. My breeding interests extend from specialty vegetables to cannabis. This summer I am working on a few Capsicum hybrids in my home garden! I look forward to finding the industry niche that I will excel in. Currently I am employed by the College of DuPage Greenhouse and by PanAmerican Seed Research Company in Elburn, Illinois. I am lucky to have so many great mentors who are leaders in the industry, I could not do it without them.
Annika Kohler - Michigan State University
My passion for horticulture is led by my drive to produce edible and ornamental crops sustainably without compromising quantity or quality. I have always been an environmentally-minded individual and believe that the best way to promote the health of people and the planet is to become more innovative with growing. As an undergraduate, I spent most of my time at UGArden, a sustainable student-lead farm at the University of Georgia. I learned almost all my horticulture knowledge from there alone but decided to pursue a graduate degree focused on something a little different. I currently am a master’s student at Michigan State University studying herb and ornamental production in controlled environments. With a background in both organic field production and controlled environments, I hope to become a research technician for a controlled environment company to further implement sustainable practices for growing a multitude of horticultural crops.
Felicia Millett - University of Connecticut
I’ve worked as an arborist in Connecticut for the past seven years and have always enjoyed the daily and direct interaction with trees. While working for a commercial tree care company, we received far more calls for tree removals than we did for the other tree care services we provided. I decided it was time to shift my focus to growing plants and bringing life into the landscape. This year I enrolled in the University of Connecticut’s Associate Degree program in Plant Science with a concentration in Ornamental Horticulture. I began the program with a desire to learn more about ornamental trees and shrubs suited to the New England region. Some of the recent efforts at UConn to find replacements for invasive species in the landscape have led to advancements in the variety of northeastern native plants now available to the consumer. This has inspired me to want to become more involved in nursery production and plant propagation in order to learn what it takes to determine the potential of new cultivars in the landscape.
AmericanHort expresses appreciation to Coralie Farinas, a 2018 HortScholar and a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University, for serving as the Program Coordinator for the 2019 HortScholar class.