Now in its 20th year, the Perennial Plant Association’s student scholarship program has awarded scholarships to a total of 120 exemplary horticulture students, a value of $240,000. The 2017 scholarship recipients are pictured at right. Click on the pictures to read about each student.


Scholarship recipients receive full access to the entire six-day National Perennial Plant Symposium which includes educational sessions, tours and a trade show, as well as complimentary lodging and a $1000 stipend. Undergraduate students who are enrolled in a two or four-year program with a major or minor in horticulture or a related field are eligible to apply.


The scholarships were initially funded directly by the PPA and generous individual donors, but more recently have been sponsored by the nonprofit Perennial Plant Association Foundation. The Foundation is funded entirely through the generosity of individuals and corporations who wish to support the future of the herbaceous perennial industry. 100% of donations go towards funding student scholarships and future research for the Foundation.


Know a student who would benefit from a PPA scholarship next year? Encourage them to apply


Wish to support the PPA Foundation with your tax-deductible donation to provide future student scholarships? Email Steven Still at [email protected] or call (614) 771-8431. 




2017 PPA Symposium Scholarship Recipients

Click on the pictures to read about each student.

Sandy Vernon

SCHOOL: Utah State University, Junior  | AREA OF FOCUS: Residential Landscape Design and Construction  | Sandra is working to build upon her associate’s degree in ornamental horticulture with an advanced degree in landscape design, emphasis in water-wise gardening. Sandra currently works as an Extension agent for Utah State University and was previously a manager at Highland Gardens.

Lisa Gramse

SCHOOL: Utah State University, Junior   |  AREA OF FOCUS: Plant Science, Emphasis in Horticulture and Cropping Systems   |  Upon completion of her education, Lisa aspires to run a nursery which specializes in perennials that thrive in the high mountain, desert climate of Utah. While working as a teaching assistant, she discovered a passion for education and is interested in working as an extension agent.

Megan Haresnape

SCHOOL: Kansas State University, Sophomore  | AREA OF FOCUS: Horticulture, Agribusiness  | Megan’s aspirations after graduation include owning and operating a greenhouse where she will grow and sell both herbaceous perennials and vegetable plants. Her vision includes offering fresh produce to her local community through partnerships with grocery stores and agricultural-related businesses.

Megan Shaner

SCHOOL: Columbus State Community College (Ohio), Senior  | AREA OF FOCUS: Landscape Design and Management  | Megan owns her own estate gardening business while also working at Oakland Nurseries in Columbus. She obtained her associate’s degree in Landscape Design and Maintenance in December 2016, but desires to further her education in business management so she can grow her gardening business profitably.

Brett Zylstra

SCHOOL: Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, Sophomore  | AREA OF FOCUS: Ornamental Horticulture  | Brett’s career goal is to become a grower-retailer specializing in perennials and flowers for the cut flower trade. His diverse experience working for independent garden centers and botanical gardens has taught him much about plant propagation, pest management, growing techniques and landscape maintenance.

Rebecca Hutchison

SCHOOL: Olds College (Alberta, Canada), Junior  | AREA OF FOCUS: Horticulture  |  Rebecca is one of many students who must learn to juggle employment and schooling while raising a young family. She maintains a 3.9 GPA while also volunteering for the Girl Guides of Canada and her school’s Horticulture Club. She enjoys her work in the Olds College Botanic Garden.

Laurie Niven

SCHOOL: Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, Freshman  | AREA OF FOCUS: Horticulture   |  Laurie managed a successful garden center and floral shop for 12 years before going back to school. Upon completion of her horticulture degree, Laurie hopes to find a career that links her interest in teaching sustainable garden design with her passions for therapeutic recreation, social justice issues, and community development.

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