Experience the Industry at Cultivate

What is the AmericanHort Scholars program?

This 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 at Cultivate. Each year, 6 students are chosen for this beyond-the-classroom experience – giving insight and awareness of the industry, its supply chain, and where they might find a home for their passion.

In other words, HortScholars will meet many, many people that:

  • Can help with finding a fantastic job or internship
  • Offer insights on the best ways to reach career goals
  • Will tell funny stories about stupid things they did early in their career (and that you can learn from)
  • Provide lots of realistic advice that is actually useful

Who is eligible?

The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are attending 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. (Those who graduate just before the program starts in July are still eligible). Check out the program requirements.

What exactly is an AmericanHort Scholar and what do they do?

HortScholars spend several days on-site at Cultivate in Columbus, Ohio.

  • Volunteering with set up
  • Learning about the green industry
  • Networking in facilitated meetings with industry leaders
  • Presenting on a horticulture topic of their choice
  • And much more!

This program is a unique experience designed to help create long-lasting industry connections, find future jobs and internships, and experience some of the most exciting aspects of the industry.

When and where does the AmericanHort Scholars program take place?

The HortScholar program takes place in Columbus, Ohio on July 9-16 before and during Cultivate’24. AmericanHort provides complimentary meals, lodging, an All-Access Pass to Cultivate, and a complimentary one-year student membership in addition to the HortScholar activities at Cultivate. Scholars are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from Columbus, Ohio.

Still have questions?

Check out the FAQs or contact the program coordinator, Michael Martin.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

What HortScholar Alumni Say About the Program

AmericanHort is pleased to present the 2024 HortScholars

The AmericanHort HortScholars program introduces horticulture students to the industry, its opportunities, and its leaders, setting them on a path to success. The participants are given 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 sessions, networking, and working with industry mentors at Cultivate.

Jack Bobo

NC State University

Jack Bobo, a native of the Dallas, Texas, area, completed his undergraduate studies in Horticultural Science at Texas A&M University in 2019. He then pursued a master’s degree in the same field at the University of Georgia, specializing in winegrape pruning techniques. Following his graduation in 2022, Jack embarked on his doctoral journey at NC State University, joining the Horticultural Substrates Laboratory led by Dr. Brian Jackson. His current research focuses on mitigating phytotoxicity linked to engineered wood fiber substrates and cultivating annual crops in peat-free and peat-reduced growing media within greenhouse environments. Scheduled to complete his Ph.D. in May 2025, Jack aspires to continue advancing sustainable growing media and greenhouse production in the green industry.

Forrest Brown

Virginia Polytechnic University

Forrest Brown grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. He and his mother spent a great deal of time outside exploring the wilderness, identifying various trees, shrubs, and flowers native to the region. This further developed into a deep love of horticulture. Forrest has recently completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech studying nitrogen fertilizer application and losses from containerized crop production. He hopes to continue researching various aspects of the horticulture industry to help improve production practices.

Rose Elbert

Michigan State University

Growing up in Kansas, there were always many opportunities for Rose Elbert to spend time outside amongst plants. Her family shared their love of gardening for both food and flowers, which is where Rose’s love of horticulture began. Rose Elbert is finishing her Horticulture Production undergraduate degree along with a minor in Spanish at Kansas State University this spring. In the fall, Rose will begin her graduate studies on controlled environment herb research under Dr. Roberto Lopez at Michigan State. Rose then plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Horticulture, continuing at Michigan State on the same project. In the future, Rose hopes to be a professor who teaches controlled environment food crop production or plant identification while contributing to the horticulture industry in a meaningful way through research.

Mya Griffith

Florida Gulf Coast University

Mya Griffith is an undergraduate at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is graduating in December 2024 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Environmental Geology. Her research focuses on the integration of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) and hydroponics and its uses in the horticultural industry. Horticulture has become an unexpected passion for Mya and has brought her a lot of joy and success. She wishes to continue exploring CEA and horticultural techniques as she makes her way to graduate school. Working with plants and growing crops from seed to full bloom has allowed her to harness her love for nature and hope for the future. Using horticultural and CEA techniques, she hopes to help develop a sustainable future for crop production and recreational growers while maintaining high-quality products for consumers.

Samuel Mattia

California State Polytechnic University

Samuel is a Plant Science graduate student at California State Polytechnic. His research interest is in using artificial intelligence and remote sensing to optimize dynamic lighting schedules for crop production in Controlled Environment Agriculture. He works as an Urban Agriculture Technician – Student Assistant (Aquaponics and Hydroponics). Growing up in an agrarian setting in Sierra Leone, his first contribution to the field of agriculture came after a study visit to a farm that suffered the impact of climate action on its vegetable production. He responded by innovating a climate-smart automated indoor growing unit that uses hydroponic technology and pioneered the concept of soilless cultivation and controlled environment agriculture (CEA) in his country. His interests are to pursue a Ph.D., work with top vertical/CEA farms in the U.S. and across the world, and establish an urban farm, leveraging technological innovations in plant science. His passion for academics and entrepreneurship has handed him a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, 1st Level Master in Open Innovation and Youth Entrepreneurship in Agrifood, an M.S. in Soil and Water Engineering (pending), and founder of an Agritech startup.

Taylor Steele

Horticultural Therapy Institute

Taylor Steele is a recent graduate of Front Range Community College (FRCC) with an A.A. and Horticulture Certificate. Her love of horticulture is deeply rooted in vegetable gardening with her family and friends, which developed into a love of helping make the joys and therapeutic benefits of growing plants accessible to all. She has worked in Special Education for several years, solidifying her commitment to disability advocacy. She has also led the Autistic Student Alliance at FRCC to speak at conferences about neurodiversity and universal design. She will attend the Horticultural Therapy Institute associated with Colorado State University. She hopes to elevate the implementation of horticulture in therapeutic and academic settings and highlight disability advocacy in community and public gardens.