As a child, Ava Anderson explored the world with her focus trained on one thing in particular—plants. Be it native Filipino plants like the ZZ plant and snake plants in her grandmother’s home, or the variety of species in the botanical gardens where her aunt worked, Anderson was fascinated with the natural world. A recipient of the CALS Alumni and Friends Society Scholarship Endowment, Anderson is now living out that dream as she studies horticulture at North Carolina State University.
“I have always wanted to be close to nature and I knew I wanted to pursue horticulture,” says Anderson. “Once I complete my college journey, I hope to work hands-on with plants, and build and plan green spaces for the public, private businesses and schools. It is my goal to leave a lasting impact on the earth through green projects like these, and I am confident CALS can guide me there.”
In addition to her undergraduate studies, Anderson is assisting horticulturists and gardeners at the JC Raulston Arboretum. The scholarship alleviated the stress of financing her education and allowed her to pursue work toward her passion.
“I am extremely grateful to have earned this award. The scholarship means I can focus more on my studies without worrying about taking out extra loans,” says Anderson. “It also encouraged me to do even better in CALS by aiming for leadership positions and joining more clubs. I feel appreciated and like I am where I belong.”
Anderson is one of four recipients of the 2022-2023 CALS Alumni and Friends Society Scholarship Endowment. Established in 2004, the endowed fund is awarded to CALS undergraduate and graduate students who show financial need as well as leadership potential. The awards beget grateful students who are motivated to reach their academic and career goals.
“To those that made this scholarship possible, I would like to thank you for your generosity and support,” says recipient Walton “Josiah” Green, a Biological and Agricultural Engineering Technology major.
Green grew up on a 2,500-acre cotton farm in Centre, Alabama. When he decided to pursue a degree in agriculture, NC State was at the top of his list.
“With the combination of a fantastic ag school and a chance to move beyond my small town, NC State was the perfect school,” says Green. “As an out-of-state student, the cost of attendance is challenging for my family and this scholarship helps alleviate some of the financial burdens and makes it possible for me to continue my education at my dream school and major.”
Similarly, sophomore Ella Schoelier was drawn to NC State for its ag reputation. The daughter of a New Jersey dairy farmer, she understands the challenges involved with raising healthy livestock.
“Keeping farmers’ livestock and their source of income protected is essential. NC State was one of my top choices because of all it has to offer and how highly ranked it is in animal science,” says Schoelier. “I am very grateful to receive this scholarship. It allows me to focus on my education rather than stressing over the cost of it. I know I will reach my goal of becoming a livestock veterinarian.”
For Renee Long, the impact of the scholarship is simple. “This scholarship lifts some of the financial pressure,” she says. “I now have the opportunity to cut back on my work schedule and take more classes this semester.”
A professional cook who has a decade of restaurant experience, Long came to NC State specifically to study agroecology and sustainable food systems. She earned her associates degree at a community college in Illinois while working full time on an organic vegetable farm. Her dream was to one day attend NC State.
“It feels surreal to finally be accepted and enrolled at NC State after years of preparation,” Long says. “I see the need for food security and food systems. I think it is important to act on what you are thinking rather than just talk about it. I am going to challenge myself to act more this semester. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.