Early each spring, OFA — an Association of Floriculture Professionals — selects up to six students to serve as the year’s OFA Scholars. This rigorous competition identifies some of the industry’s brightest young professionals and helps launch their careers in floriculture by providing education and guidance.
OFA Scholars will be on-site at the 2008 OFA Short Course (July 12-15 in Columbus, Ohio). At Short Course, these scholars will assist the OFA Generation Next Committee with events and educational sessions, attend the trade show and educational sessions, meet with industry mentors and network at various social events.
This year’s Scholars are:
Gladys Anguti is pursuing a Masters degree in horticulture at The Ohio State University. She is working with Dr. Claudio Pasian on using controlled-release fertilizer to reduce environmental contamination from greenhouse runoff. Gladys has extensive international experience studying and working in the Netherlands, Ecuador, Costa Rica and her native Uganda.
Aubrey Ballinger is a sophomore at Cincinnati State Technical College and a member of the horticulture club, PLANET and Phi Theta Kappa. Aubrey has completed a nine-month internship at Diefenbacher Greenhouse and the horticulture department at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Jenny Barnett is a freshman at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute. Prior to enrolling in the horticulture program, Jenny was a preschool teacher. Her long-time passion and enthusiasm for plants began as a young child working in the family gardens and small orchard. Jenny is co-majoring in greenhouse and nursery production and is involved with the greenhouse club and nursery club.
James Cooley also is a freshman at The Ohio State University. He became interested in horticulture while working a summer job at a local nursery and landscaping business, and he quickly became interested in propagation and cultivation. James is involved with the Landscape and Floriculture Forum and Pi Alpha Xi and volunteers at OSU’s Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens.
Christy Dudgeon is a senior at The Ohio State University. She is currently president of Pi Alpha Xi. Christy and her husband own and operate a wholesale nursery and landscape business in Circleville, Ohio.
Tim Sauner is a junior at The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute co-majoring in greenhouse and nursery production. Tim is involved in several horticulture-related organizations including serving as president for ATI’s Nursery Club, vice president of Phi Theta Kappa and a member of the Greenhouse Club. Additionally, Tim is a mentor at a local elementary school and is leading a landscape and garden program at the school as well.
For more information about the OFA Scholars Program, go to www.ofa.org  or contact OFA at (614) 487-1117.