We just returned from OFA Short Course and I am happy to report that it looks like the future of our industry is going to be in very capable hands. The reason for my optimism is because of several college students that I met while we were in Columbus. Amy Hinkle, Polyxeni (Cheni) Filios and Jason Lattier were all recognized for their academic achievements during the Grower Town Meeting at OFA Short Course.
We first met Amy Hinkle in January when she was named the GPN/Nexus Intern of the Year (see GPN, January 2011). Last year, she participated in an internship program at Bear Creek Farms. She didn’t really participate in the program as much as she attacked her internship with her desire to learn as much as possible during her time at Bear Creek. Amy is beginning her senior year at Penn State University where she is working on a degree in horticulture and will be entering the job market next summer.
Jason Lattier is a graduate student at North Carolina State University and Polyxeni (Cheni) Filios is a graduate student at Cornell University. Jason was the recipient of the inaugural Glenn Goldsmith Breeding Excellence Scholarship while Cheni received the Goldsmith Seeds Floriculture Business Advancement Scholarship (see story on page 10).
Jason’s research is focusing on the breeding traits of azaleas, Norway Maple and evergreen perennials. Cheni’s studies are focusing on the potential harmful effects that can occur in floriculture crops when passing from the grower/retailer to the consumer as well as post-harvest degradation in the floriculture chain.
The intelligence, drive and passion that these three have is incredibly contagious and I know they will contribute great things to the industry and their future employers.
Amy, Cheni and Jason are just three future all stars. OFA’s Generation Next Committee also welcomed six students to Short Course as part of the OFA Scholars program.
These six students were selected from a pool of 26 students from 19 colleges and universities who applied to the competitive program. So here are a few more students to keep an eye out for: Jared Barnes, North Carolina State University; Jennifer Evans, Michigan State University; Jennifer Hatalski, College of Western Idaho; Allison Justice, Clemson University; Lori Moshman, Cornell University; and Nicole Rud, University of Toledo. All of these students represent the future of our industry and the future looks bright!