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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Exeter residents earn horticulture scholarships

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

URI students awarded for writing, photography

KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 16, 2007 -- Exeter residents Kelly Jarvis and Linda Justin, both junior horticulture students at the University of Rhode Island, certainly have green thumbs, but they also are expert at attracting another type of green.

The students were each recently awarded $1,000 scholarships from the Garden Writers Association Foundation. Considering that the foundation only awarded six scholarships nationwide for the spring 2007 semester, it is quite a feat for URI students to land two of them.

The awards come in handy for the two women who also have gardening-related jobs to help them meet tuition bills.

Jarvis was influenced by her mother, Deborah, who has a small landscaping maintenance business where she sometimes works. She submitted two articles to the competition, one called “Trees of Character” and the other “Biological Control Methods.”

Justin is a part-time student who decided to pursue her education in horticulture after working as a maintenance gardener for seven years and, for the last five years, as the perennial manager at The Farmer’s Daughter in Kingston.

She says she always “wanted to have dirty hands and always loved flowers,” but it took a bout with lymphoma, which had to be treated with a bone marrow transplant, to motivate her to pursue a formal education in horticulture.

Justin’s scholarship award was given in recognition of two photographs she submitted to the Garden Writers Association Foundation. One of them she already knew was a winner—it had won second place in a contest sponsored by People, Places & Plants magazine.

The two URI students seem to have a knack for garnering scholarships. Jarvis received a $3,500 award from the Boston Garden Club, and she and Justin shared second prize ($400 each) in the Mario Pagliarini Competition, which requires students to identify trees on the URI Kingston campus.

Justin also won a $2,500 Horticultural Research Institute award, a $1,500 Perennial Plant Association award, and another award from Hoogendoorn Nurseries in Newport.

Both women enjoy horticultural photography, but Justin says she is seriously thinking about becoming a garden writer, noting that as one gets older, operating a keyboard is a lot easier than hefting flower containers.

While the students are proud of the Garden Writer’s scholarship, they also give credit to the skillful writing abilities of URI Horticulture Professor Brian Maynard, who wrote endorsement letters on their behalf. “I think Brian writes pretty good letters,” Justin said.

URI News Bureau Photo: (L) Linda Justin and (R) Kelly Jarvis.