By David McKinney, CSU Scholarship Winner
When looking back on my past three years at Colorado State University, I have come to understand that I could not have made it to where I am now without the help of scholarships. Awards like those provided by the Colorado Horticulture Research and Education Foundation (CHREF) give funds for students struggling to pay for school, but they also give a much-needed dose of inspiration.
Scholarships are a way to let students know that someone believes in their future and wants them to finish their academic career. I have been incredibly impacted by scholarships I have received. They helped bear the financial burden of college, and allowed me to develop myself professionally and socially, allowing me to join student organizations like the CSU Horticulture Club, Pi Alpha Xi Honors Society, and the College of Agricultural Sciences Ambassadors. I am less worried about finding a job in college that will fill my wallet, rather than give me the skills I need for my career. I have had the opportunity to work for Dr. Jim Klett as the CSU Perennial Demonstration Garden Coordinator, and now as the 3-Year Perennial Trial Coordinator, neither of which would have been plausible without the help scholarships gave me and the boost they gave to my academics.
In the same way, scholarships have helped me work towards my long-term career goals. My best idea of what my future holds is continuing in school as a graduate student, the inspiration of which came from meeting the professionals on the boards of the scholarship foundations and hearing their stories.
I know other students like me have gone on to work for the company that provided them with their scholarships, and they were grateful for the help to begin their careers. Scholarships awarded by foundations and companies are a direct investment into the future of our industry, and are often that essential push to motivate a student to finish their degree strong. I can say with certainty that our industry will have a strong future because of these awards.