The scholarship committee works to make sure that students in Wisconsin colleges studying in
the areas of horticulture/environment/landscape are recognized and awarded funds that encourage dedication to the mission.
In 2022 the newly established Garden Club of Greater Milwaukee's President Debra Koenig and the board reviewed and voted to offer two $2500 scholarships in 2023.
Previously the 2018 board of MAM Garden Club (now operating as Garden Club of Greater
Milwaukee) proposed and approved a scholarship to support college students in Wisconsin, for their study in horticulture. Then President Lilly Harris felt it was important to award funds and recognize outstanding students and their efforts to focus on a career that aligns with the mission of the garden club and its members.
For five years the scholarship committee has used the garden club mission to align with Wisconsin college programs (about 33 universities and technical colleges) to offer the opportunity and establish criterion for awarding an annual scholarship.
Applicants must be studying at a Wisconsin public, private or technical college; completing sophomore status, and have a GPA of 3.0 or above. Interested applicants send a completed application, college transcripts, essay and 2 letters of recommendation by the posted deadline. Based on established criterion, committee members review every document and rate each applicant to determine the top 5 candidates. Further review and discussion is used to determine the finalist.
Scholarship committee members are: Susan Ballje, chair, with Christine Raz, Helen Dahms, Karen Flanagan, and Lilly Harris. Previous committee members also included Nick Lemus and Charlotte Castleberry.
Some years over 35 qualified students have applied. The entire process from posting opportunity in January to finalist named in May is about 5 months. The scholarship chair works with awardee to present biography/photo and announcements as well as sending funds directly to the college for tuition expenses.
My name is Daphne Jacak and I am a sophomore student at UW-River Falls. My love for horticulture started when I was very little. I grew up on a 20-acre hobby farm and always loved to grow gardens, search for native edible plants, and experiment with plant’s taste, smell, and luster. Throughout high school I worked at Witte’s Vegetable Market who taught me how to own a family business, grow, produce, and market fruit and vegetable crops. From these experiences I decided to pursue a Horticultural degree at UW River Falls.
At River Falls I am very active in the Horticulture Society, where I currently hold the position of Senior Floral Purchaser. In this role I organize and purchase plants for sales that fund our society, design floral arrangements for events and sales on campus, and supervise plant related workshops held by the
society. We also volunteer for various local businesses and events and work closely with the River Falls Garden Club for plant sales and events. With the skills gain from my education and experiences I hope to produce plants that will help beautify the world landscapes and introduce new varieties into society for others to enjoy.
My goal is to dive into the greenhouse production and/or the landscape design business. I feel these professions are a perfect combination of my interests in art, science, and horticulture. If the opportunity comes about, I would love to start my own business in designing and producing landscape varieties, annual, and perennial flowers. Seeing my professors have a passion for their own crops, I also aspire be able to introduce a new variety to the market as a breeder.
This summer I am interning at the Green Bay Botanical Garden. I am excited to learn about the industry of public gardening, gain valuable social experience, and practice my skills of leadership, teamwork, and public speaking. I look forward to producing plants that bring smiles to growers and will become a
lasting beauty in the world around me.
I want to thank the Garden Club of Greater Milwaukee for their
generous scholarship and encouragement as I pursue my passion in Horticulture.
I am so thankful to be receiving the Garden Club of Greater Milwaukee Scholarship this year. After I graduate college, my goal is to get a position working as a soil scientist for the Federal Government whether it be through the US Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Land Management, or the Department of Interior. My goal as it relates to the Garden Club is to learn about, protect, and conserve the environment. I have a passion for soil science and how it directly impacts the crops, flowers, and trees we grow. I want to use the knowledge I have gained throughout college to help farmers and landowners manage their land to prevent soil erosion,
maintain high soil fertility, and promote pollinators with the re-introduction of native plant species. Throughout college I have had many opportunities to really get into what I was studying and to join related clubs. I am currently an officer for the Soil and Water Conservation Society Chapter on campus. I am the research coordinator and am continuing the twenty year research project that the club has been working on for 9 years now on rotational grazing practices on a local farm.
I am employed at the pedology lab I have completed my own research project with some other students. We looked for spodosol development in Schmeeckle Reserve and determined if the portable x-ray fluorescence is an acceptable diagnostic for determining spodic material presence. I am also an active member of the soil judging team and competed in Oklahoma for the national competition this year and went to Illinois for the regional competition in October. Soil judging has been extremely beneficial because it allows me to look at soils from around the United States
and understand how texture, color, structure, parent material, slope position, etc. affects soil development and how the land can be effectively used. Overall, I’ve had a great experience at UWSP this far and am excited to finish one more semester and graduate in December of 2023.
Catherine is a 4.0 sophomore at St. Norbert College with a double major in environmental science and studio art. She has proven herself adept at finding the connections between the two fields and making her insights accessible to a broad public. Her studies are focused on an exploration of science communication, and helping others understand the beauty and the botany that surrounds them.
Not only is Catherine an astute observer of the natural world and a gifted artist, but she has a knack for sharing her insights and discoveries with others. Peers and faculty in other fields praised Catherine’s presentation of her summer research work. Faculty at St. Norbert wrote outstanding recommendations describing her as “an ambassador for the complexities of ecology and the essentialness of art in our contemporary lives.
Catherine is an artist whose work helps instill in the public an
appreciation for the natural world.” Catherine shows a true desire for pursuing a career in science communication and sustainability by merging her passions and talent in both environmental science and art. She feels introducing scientific information to a wider audience is her life’s work. By using visuals to inspire appreciation for the natural world, her goals align well with the principles that drive the mission of the Garden Club of Greater Milwaukee, the successor to the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club
Hayden’s application with his credentials, experience and goals was exceptional. His interest in horticulture as a career was established as a child. After graduating from Neenah High School, he attended Fox Valley Technical College for one year and graduated on the Dean’s List with a 3.8 GPA as a Horticultural Technician. He went on to UW River Falls and continues to earn honors and will complete a bachelor’s degree in Professional Horticulture. Hayden plans to graduate in spring 2022.
Hayden is currently the president of Horticulture Society on campus, a club for students involved in the horticulture department that competes regionally at (MACHS) Mid America Collegiate Horticulture Society. They also hold fundraising events, meet with industry professionals, and overall share the love of plants. Currently he is employed at Harrington’s Greenhouse in Ellsworth, WI where they grow flowering annuals, vegetables, and ornamentals. This summer Hayden will be focusing on an internship with the city of River Falls Public Works, along with summer classes. He will be working closely with Public Works to help manage the parks department along with helping them design some garden bed features. Hayden hopes to one day own and operate his own greenhouse growing bedding annuals, ornamentals, and perennials.