Rebekah Maynard, M.S. student under the direction of Dr. John Ruter, has been chosen as a HortScholar for the Cultivate conference this year. While the conference has moved to a virtual setting this year (as have most events), this is an excellent opportunity for Rebekah to meet horticulture professionals and learn more about the green industry. When asked to describe what the award meant to her, Rebekah provided the following insight.
“I started my college journey intending to become a research chemist, but during my junior year at UGA, I volunteered at UGArden and fell in love with horticulture. I was excited to discover I had enough time left in my degree to add a minor in horticulture and started breeding research under Dr. Matthew Chappell to learn more about working with ornamental species. After a year of assisting with ornamental breeding research, I decided to change my career path and pursue horticulture further. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in May 2019 and am currently working on my Master of Science in Horticulture under Dr. John Ruter. My research focuses on improving the ornamental value of many wild accessions of Salvia through classical cross pollinations, chromosome doubling, and mutation breeding. In addition to my love for horticulture, I also have a passion for teaching and hope to become a horticulture professor in the future. I believe the HortScholar program will help me reach my dream and make me a more effective horticulture educator by providing me the opportunity to learn from industry professionals. I would like to thank AmericanHort for investing in my education by selecting me for this unique experience.”