Sep 26, 2019
Proven Winners Awards Scholarships

Since 2014, Proven Winners has recognized students who exemplify excellence in three distinct areas of study — plant breeding, growing and horticultural marketing —and awarded scholarships to those individuals whose philosophies most align with those of the company.

This year, more than 100 applications were submitted from students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities, graduate programs and technical or two-year post-secondary programs.

New flowers and plants are the lifeblood of our industry. Today’s consumer is increasingly conscious about chemical use however still demands ease of maintenance when looking to beautify their home landscape. The winner of the Innovations in Plant Breeding Scholarship is Andrej Svyantek, North Dakota State University,  who is actively working to meet that demand while “striving to create fruit, flowers, and ground-covers that are morphologically unique and pleasing to the heart and soil”.

Quality plant material produced by talented and hard-working growers is absolutely essential for success, no matter the brand. But does the meaning of “quality” extend beyond healthy, well-performing plants? Katelin Borden, University of Florida, certainly seems to think there is. She wants to grow “new plants using advancements in propagation and tissue culture to nourish, beautify, heal, improve our world and educate the people in it.” We are proud to award Katelin our Grower Excellence Scholarship and support her as one of the next generations of great plantsmen and women.

Renata Goossen, Kansas State University, is the recipient of he Innovations in Horticultural Marketing Scholarship award for 2019. “Even though horticulture is an old industry, it is also fast changing. Innovative and new products are necessary to compete in such a vast industry,” Gooseen said. Her desire is to create a broad representation of the horticulture industry on multiple levels.

Many horticulture students begin their post-secondary schooling at two-year or vocational schools as a way to enter the workforce sooner. Since horticulture tends to be a very hands-on career with much knowledge gained through work experience, this is an excellent way to break into the industry. Proven Winners proud to support five exemplary students who have chosen this route for their schooling and wish them the best of success for the future.

Congratulations to:

  • Ninway Aziz (Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture);
  • Kelvin Devries (Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture);
  • Kasandra Hernandez (Cuyahoga Community College);
  • Felicia Millett (University of Connecticut), and
  • Matthew Witemyre (Merritt College).

For more information about this year’s winners, and to learn about how to apply for consideration next year, please visit

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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.
Ben Vliestra
Sidney Phelps
Jennifer Moss
Daniel Norden
W. Garrett Owen
Jessica Montgomery
Elien Peters
Rose Oberholzer
Nikki Melin

January 2021 GPN
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