Congratulations to the winners of our scholarship program for the 2021-2022 season!
Lillian Borbas from Morris, Connecticut received this year’s CT Horticultural Society’s award that honors the memory of Dr. Edwin “Pat” Carpenter a Professor of Horticulture. Lillian is a senior majoring in Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems with a concentration in Environmental Horticulture. She is a Dean’s List student with a cumulative grade point average of 3.95.
While at UConn, Lillian has been involved in the Astronomy Association Club, Choose-A-Challenge Club, UConn Marching Band, and the UConn Pep Band as a trumpet player.
Lillian has worked as a Research Assistant in the UConn Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture assisting Dr. Jessica Lubell with her research on feminized seed production and industrial hemp breeding. She has also worked for Brierwood Nurseries, Inc. and White Flower Farm in their greenhouses gaining valuable work experience in her field.
Lillian is passionate about plant science education and research and can see herself working in a career that interacts with local communities and industry members. She cares about safeguarding the environment and natural resources and thinks that plant science education is important to modern day agriculture and conservation. Topics such as integrated pest management, improved horticultural practices, or weed and invasive plant control are important areas that implement conservation and sustainability into agriculture.
Lillian is expected to graduate in Spring 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems with a minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In her time at UConn she has thoroughly enjoyed taking plant science and ecology classes. Lillian has worked hard to excel in her studies while also participating in fulfilling extracurricular opportunities. She is interested in pursuing graduate school in the future and furthering her education in plant science or plant ecology and conservation. Lillian’s time at UConn has expanded her passion for plant science and the environment. With every new class she takes, she marvels at finding something new that piques her interest, from plant physiology and pathology to conservation biology.
The last four years have helped Lillian realize that she wants her career and future to involve helping our environment; with a firm goal to continue learning, researching and discovering solutions to problems, and becoming involved in outreach programs to help our community. She enjoys learning about how plant biology can relate to sustainability. Some of Lillian’s interests include native and invasive plant interactions, weed ecology, and plant diseases. In addition to going to graduate school, she is also interested in a career in Extension. Lillian has a passion for plant science education and research and has thought about working in a public outreach program, connecting with community and industry members. She is excited about entering her senior year and is confident that her course selection this year will help to narrow her interests into a career path that allows her to continue her passion for plant science and conservation.
Julie Turner from Shelton, Connecticut received this year’s CT Horticultural Society’s award that is given in memory of Ludwig Hoffman, a well-known Nurseryman. Julie is a senior majoring in Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems with a concentration in Environmental Horticulture. She is a New England Scholar with a cumulative grade point average of 3.64.
Julie has volunteered her time every Monday and Wednesday at the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Greenhouse on the Storrs campus scouting, repotting, yellow leafing, pruning, rooting cuttings, and recording information in a database. She also volunteered at Prendergast Elementary School organizing books and assisting reading tutors, St. Margaret Mary’s Church helping with events, and the Shelton National Little League coaching girls’ softball.
Julie has participated in several extracurricular activities at UConn such as the Women’s Rugby Club, Breakdancing, Irish Dance, Rugby Soccer Team, Running Club, and the Spring Valley Student Farm Club. She is also a member of St. Thomas Aquinas TLC and St. Margaret Mary’s The WALK Youth Group. Lastly, she was a senator for UConn Student Government (USG) at the Waterbury campus.
Julie worked as a summer intern and seasonal employee at Jones Family Farms, and for Juniors Handyman and Property Maintenance assisting with landscaping projects.
At this point, Julie does not have a specific career goal in mind. It seems that every semester she learns about many new fantastic job opportunities in her major, and every time she tries to focus in on one, another one seems comes along and piques her interest. Julie feels that she might need to gain some experience outside of the classroom to see what is right for her. She has also been considering continuing her education further after graduation.
Right now, Julie plans to explore some internship/job opportunities and try to make some connections with faculty that can advise her on future choices and education following graduation. She has learned that she is not the only one undecided about her future, many of her friends are in the same position. Julie’s goals are broad ones right now. Her aspirations currently are to keep her grades up, keep looking at job opportunities, and to keep exploring her options with future education and internships. Julie realizes there is one thing that she is sure of, she loves nature and she cares a great deal about being sustainable and caring for what is around her. She is very interested in pollinators and how so many things are working all around us all the time that we can’t always see or hear. Even though Julie’s career goals are not set in stone she knows that whatever she chooses, if she is outdoors, she will be happy.
Annabelle Caswell from Norwich, Connecticut is the recipient of this year’s CT Horticultural Society’s award in memory of David J.A. Smith, an Emeritus Society Member. She is a transfer student from the University of Maine, and a senior majoring in Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems with a cumulative grade point average of 3.6. Annabelle will be graduating in May of 2022.
Annabelle volunteered her time at the University of Maine as a 4H STEM Ambassador teaching elementary students about fruit science. She also volunteered at a couple of Community Gardens, and at a nursing home as an activity organizer.
Annabelle has gained valuable knowledge and experience in her field working at Harkness State Park as a gardener maintaining historical gardens, at Sweet Hill Farm as a greenhouse manager, at McQuade’s as a florist, and through a USDA Internship working at a Farmers Market.
Annabelle was an FFA representative for her high school for New London County Extension and learned how much she loved extension and how beneficial it is for everyone to become involved. Her hopes are that after graduating she can become more involved in extension and focus on public outreach within the horticulture industry.
From Annabelle’s time in the Farm Business CDE she realized that she loved the financial and business side of agriculture. She hopes that while also working for a state agency or extension that she can have her own side business within greenhouse management. Although Annabelle realizes it is hard work, owning your own agricultural business is so rewarding and has always been a dream of hers.
Annabelle plans on graduating with a degree in Sustainable Plant and Soil System this spring. After this she hopes to attend UConn graduate school for Sustainable Environmental Planning and Management. The reason for furthering her education is that she wants to become more knowledgeable and informed on environmental policy.
Annabelle’s time outdoors has sparked an interest in invasive plants and how much of a nuisance they can be. Therefore, after graduating she would like to work alongside the DEEP with UConn Extension to increase public outreach about invasive plants. Annabelle feels that in creating new legislation and teaching the people of Connecticut about invasive plants, that this could help significantly decrease the environmental degradation. Environmental sustainability has been a serious topic and goal of hers since high school, and Annabelle hopes to be an active participant in improving the situation. In addition, she hopes to develop a sustainable greenhouse operation whether that be part time or with a co-owner of a business. Annabelle’s emphasis on improving environmental conditions is that she would like to be an example to other horticulture businesses that sustainable practices are effective and achievable.