Spring Meadow - Proven Winners® scholarships awarded to five students for 2023-24

Spring Meadow Nursery and the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023-2024 Spring Meadow - Proven Winners® Endowment Fund scholarships.

Dale and Liz Deppe established the Spring Meadow - Proven Winners® Endowment Fund in 1999, believing that backing bright, well-trained, qualified people is essential to the green industry's protection and growth. Through HRI, the AmericanHort Foundation administers endowments that help students obtain the necessary education to pursue horticultural careers.

"We have been blessed by this industry and the mentors who have helped us along the way, and we are committed to supporting emerging professionals through efforts like these," said Dale Deppe. Spring Meadow Nursery aims to grant scholarships to students interested in woody plant production, propagation, breeding, horticultural sales, and marketing.

Five students were awarded scholarships for the named granting period, bringing the total amount of awards distributed through the fund to over $130,000. The students were chosen from a competitive national applicant pool for their academic achievements, outstanding leadership abilities, and commitment to pursuing horticulture careers. Following is a brief biography of each award recipient.

Ramsey Arram earned a bachelor's in biology with concentrations in botany and environmental Science from UNC Pembroke. He has worked as a lead grower on two organic farms and grew over 700 cultivars at Plant Delights Nursery. He has worked on organic farms and nurseries across North Carolina and from Sacramento to Orleans in northern California.  He is earning a master's in Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University. He has focused on polyploidy induction experiments that can affect fertility and morphological characteristics. He is a vice president of perennial plants in the Pi Alpha Xi and an NCSU Horticultural Science Government Student Association officer. Dr. Hsuan Chen worked closely with him on seven breeding projects in 2023. Ramsey will continue to work for Dr. Chen's Ornamental breeding and cytogenetics program at NCSU as his research technician following graduation.

Anna Baloh is obtaining her degree in Horticultural Science with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture and a certificate in Urban and Community Forestry. She conducts undergraduate research that focuses on plant propagation and molecular biology. Anna is also the President of the Horticulture Club in the UK and is able to share her love for all things horticulture with students and the community. Anna plans to continue her education by attending graduate school to pursue plant breeding.

Landon Erbrick is a senior at Auburn University majoring in Horticulture. His interest in horticulture began when he started with his grandfather. Over time, Landon grew his skills and industry interests while working for a local landscape company. Landon is the President of Auburn University’s Landscape and Nursery Association, where he works to connect his peers with those in the industry. Landon is an undergraduate research assistant and has presented research at the American Society of Horticultural Sciences (ASHS) conference. Landon is keenly interested in nursery and greenhouse production and looks forward to one day involving the community through agritourism.

Kayla Morrison is pursuing a Master's degree in Horticulture at Oklahoma State University, having previously earned her Bachelor's in Horticulture Science with a minor in Pest Management in December 2021 A busy mother of three, Kayla is passionate about all things green and blooming. She notes that her career ambition sprouts from a desire to cultivate knowledge and sow the seeds of horticultural wisdom in others.

Yongjun Yue is a PhD student from the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics at the University of Georgia. He currently works on crape myrtle breeding in the UGA woody ornamental lab to develop new cultivars with novel traits. His future goal is to become a plant breeder working on woody and perennial ornamentals.

In the past 20 years, 47 Spring Meadow-Proven Winners® Endowed Fund scholarships have been awarded to students. Scholarship applications for the current granting period are open until June 1, 2024. Individuals interested in applying for a scholarship can check the HRI website or contact Jennifer Gray, HRI Administrator, at (614) 884-1155 for more scholarship application details.