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Jan 4, 2019
Spring Meadow – Proven Winners HRI Scholarships Awarded

Spring Meadow Nursery and the Horticultural Research Institute have announced the recipients of 2018-2019 Spring Meadow – Proven Winners Endowment Fund scholarships.

Horticulture students Yufei Qian, Aaron Sledge and William Lewis were each awarded $3500 scholarships for the 2018-2019 granting period.

Dale and Liz Deppe established the Spring Meadow – Proven Winners Endowment Fund with HRI in 1999 with the belief that bright, well-trained, qualified people are essential to the green industry and that backing motivated students plays a vital role in protecting and growing the industry. 

Through HRI, the AmericanHort Foundation acts as the administrator of endowments that help students to obtain the education necessary to successfully pursue horticultural careers.

“Our team has been blessed by this industry and the mentors who’ve helped us along the way. These scholarships represent our commitment to continue the encouragement of emerging professionals,” said Dale Deppe. “We are pleased to be able to support these students in such a direct way.”

Qian, Sledge and Lewis were chosen from a competitive national applicant pool for their academic achievements, exemplary leadership abilities, and commitment to pursuing careers in horticulture.

Over the years, the total amount of awards distributed through the Spring Meadow – Proven Winners Endowment Fund has totaled $73,750.

Currently an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech, William Lewis is working toward a bachelor’s degree in environmental horticulture. He has been working in his family’s nursery since he was 14 years old and hopes to take over the business in the future. Steadfastly committed to his family’s business and to the horticulture industry, Lewis takes the 2-hour trip home from school, where he is a full-time student, to work at the nursery each weekend.

Yufei Qian is a graduate student at the University of California-Davis where she is pursuing her passion for plants. Qian notes she has benefitted from a series of internships while at UC-Davis, including stints in UC’s Teaching Nursery where she worked on plant propagation of ornamental plants, and on two lab internships where she worked on plant genetics and molecular level breeding. All of these experiences, she says, are pointing her to a future career in woody plant breeding.

A well-rounded plant production student, Aaron Sledge just started his junior year at Penn State University and is especially interested in woody plant propagation. He has completed internships in arboriculture, interior plantscaping, and conservatory and historic landscape management, and has worked on-campus in the greenhouse and as head propagator for the horticulture club. Aaron was also selected as an AmericanHort Scholar at the Cultivate ‘18 conference.

A total of 30 Spring Meadow-Proven Winners endowed scholarships have been awarded to students since 2004.

Scholarship applications for 2020 will open in April 2019. Individuals who are 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


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