Three students named beneficiaries of 2021-2022 Spring Meadow - Proven Winners® HRI scholarships

Spring Meadow Nursery and the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) are pleased to announce the recipients of 2021-2022 Spring Meadow - Proven Winners® Endowment Fund scholarships.

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

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

Three students were each awarded $4000 scholarships for the 2021-2022 granting period, bringing the total amount of awards distributed through the fund to $104,750. The students were chosen from a competitive national applicant pool for their academic achievements, outstanding leadership abilities, and commitment to pursuing horticulture careers. 

Yuvraj Khamare is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida. His study is focused on weed management in container-grown plants and his research focuses on developing new methods of weed control by strategically improving the cultural practices used by nursery growers. The goal of his research is to find effective, economical, and environment-friendly weed management options.

An aspiring garden writer, Khamare has contributed to several articles on weed management and its uses in GardenSmart magazine. He has also been a regular contributor to The Herbs Quarterly and Edible Orlando magazines. He has also published two peer-reviewed journal publications and extension papers on weed identification and management for the University extension website and research center blog.

Of the scholarship, Khamare said it will allow him to dedicate his time to fieldwork, studying, participating in internships, and volunteering. He feels that the scholarship will further motivate him to pursue academic excellence.

John Nix is a graduate student at North Carolina State University where he is working to complete his Master of Science degree in Horticultural Science. His interest in plants began with his high school's horticulture program and time spent in the southern Appalachians. He completed his bachelor’s degree in horticultural science and plant biology at NCSU where he was able to study with the Mountain Crop Improvement Lab. Before starting graduate school, he worked as a research and conservation intern at Longwood Gardens and spent time studying British horticulture as the Royal Horticulture Society-Garden Club of America Interchange Fellow.

Nix is interested in a career centered on improving nursery crops by driving innovation through breeding. He believes that the future of ornamental plant breeding will lean heavily into tools such as ploidy manipulation, flow cytometry, embryo rescue, database management, and transgene-free genome editing. He continues to seek opportunities to receive hands-on exposure to these valuable tools.

Runshi Xie received his master's degree in plant breeding at Texas A&M University, where he is working toward a doctoral-level degree in horticulture. He is currently working on a multi-state, multi-disciplinary project to combat crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS), an invasive insect attacking crapemyrtle and other woody plant species in the United States. He has a great interest in plant breeding and the study of plant-insect interaction. His works involve developing insect-resistant crapemyrtle cultivars and insect biology-based IPM strategies such as mating behavior for CMBS, leading to innovative and sustainable pest control and management methods for the horticulture industry.

This scholarship will allow Runshi to increase his involvement in academic events such as conferences and industrial networking events.

A total of 39 Spring Meadow-Proven Winners® Endowed Fund scholarships have been awarded to students since 2004. Scholarship applications for the 2022-2023 granting period will open in April 2022. 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.