SC green industry honors five Clemson PES students with scholarships for academic achievement
Five Clemson students have won 2020 South Carolina Green Industry Association (SCGIA) scholarships for their outstanding academic performance in horticulture, turfgrass, and plant and environmental sciences.
The SCGIA, also known as SC Green, is a state-wide, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the professionalism of South Carolina’s green industry through educational opportunities, trade shows, and scholarships. The green industry encompasses jobs in landscape services, such as design, installation, and maintenance; irrigation system design and maintenance; commercial plant production, including nursery and greenhouse; arboriculture; and allied service providers.
The association hosts an annual Conference and Trade Show to connect green industry professionals, to provide educational opportunities, and to award scholarships to students enrolled in horticulture-related majors. Its scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, extracurricular involvement, work history, and career goals.
The scholarships were awarded to the following students:
- Angelica Werth, dual degree student in Horticulture and Spanish
- Payton Davis, PES undergraduate student – Soil and Water Science concentration
- Garner Powell, PES undergraduate student – Agricultural Biotechnology concentration
- Boone Jones, PES undergraduate student – Agronomy concentration
- Timothy Stoudemayer, PES graduate student – Turfgrass focus
Each year, the association grants up to $10,000 in scholarships to seven South Carolina undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled in a plant science or related field, who maintain a GPA of at least 2.5, and who express interest in the green industry as part of their postgraduate careers.
“I would like to thank SCGIA for allowing me to have the opportunity to apply and expand my knowledge of the agricultural industry in SC,” said Garner Powell, a junior from Seneca, SC.
Powell plans to spend his $1,000 award on tuition for summer classes. He expects to graduate in Fall 2021 and work in the green industry sector for a period of time before returning to school for his master’s degree.
“It feels pretty special to be one of five Clemson students to earn the scholarship given the number of applicants that could have applied,” he said.
Angelica Werth, a senior from Kenosha, WI, said the scholarship program gives her a positive outlook on the future of green industry.
“It shows that the professionals in our industry really care about investing in its future through the students looking to enter this field,” she said. “The members of the SCGIA want to improve the green industry as a whole, and that starts with the students entering it.”
Werth will use her scholarship money to cover some of her tuition and educational expenses like textbooks. She graduates this May and will begin working in the green industry sector, with the prospect of one day running her own botanical garden.
Werth attended the winter trade show with her colleagues and was impressed by the networking opportunities she encountered there. She also attended the association’s business meeting and learned about administrative and financial management.
“I would say it was a glimpse into life as a professional, where I got to meet a lot of interesting and friendly people,” she said.
Payton Davis, a senior from Canton, GA, said the event exposed her to a diversity of jobs and promising connections within the industry.
“It was a great experience and a great opportunity to meet people,” she said. “I am very thankful to have received this award.”
Davis graduates in December and plans to attend grad school at Clemson. Out of college, she wants to join an invasive strike team or find work as a soil conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Boone Jones, from Charleston, SC, says he will use his money to cover tuition. He wants to work with plants in the fuels, fibers, textiles, or pharmaceuticals industry, finding novel ways to utilize plants in production.
Sarah White, a professor and nursery Extension specialist at Clemson University and an advisor to the awardees, praised their talent and competitive spirits.
“We have some extremely talented and dedicated students in all our Plant and Environmental Science majors,” White said, “and the industry recognizes this and continues to support the educational opportunities provided here at Clemson.”
Steven Jeffers, an Extension specialist and professor of plant pathology, added that Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences attracts first-rate students who have the excellence to participate in competitive scholarship programs. Clemson offers the only 4-year degree programs in horticulture and turfgrass in the state, so students are well-equipped to compete for these scholarships.
“All of the Clemson students receiving 2020 SCGIA scholarships were very deserving,” Jeffers said.