This year the traditional National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) was canceled due to COVID-19. One important part of NCLC is the annual scholarship reception, sponsored by STIHL.
This year the National Association of Landscape Professionals Foundation awarded 85 scholarships totaling more than $115,000. To view the full list of 2020 scholarship recipients, click here.
Although these students were not able to be recognized in person, we wanted to highlight some top scholarship winners. Here are three students who not only earned scholarships in 2020 but received NALP Foundation scholarships for three years in a row.
Franziska Collier from Cuyamaca College received the NALP Take Stock in A Student Fund Scholarship worth $2,000 in 2018, the Stay Green Inc. Scholarship worth $1,000 in 2019 and the Terracare Associates Scholarship worth $1,000 in 2020. She is majoring in arboriculture.
Collier says it means a lot to receive the scholarships as she is a widowed mother of three and the funding helps pay for different parts of her schooling, such as an internship. She says she originally became interested in horticulture after she bought a house and began planting and taking care of the plants outside.
Mariano Malagisi from SUNY Delhi received the Bellantoni Landscape – The Art & Science Scholarship worth $1,000 in both 2018 and 2019. In 2020, he received the NALP Take Stock in A Student Fund Scholarship worth $2,000. He is majoring in golf and sports turfgrass management and has an associate degree in landscape design.
“It’s very rewarding,” Malagisi says. “It’s helping me distinguish myself in the industry. I’m not just some student studying landscape design, but I’m a student member of a nationally recognized organization. To receive scholarships from a nationally recognized organization is how I look at it and that’s a big deal for me.”
He says the scholarships help him subsidize his student loans as he is paying them back himself.
“To start my business next year after I graduate, I needed to help bring down those student loans as much as I can,” he says.
Malagisi says his father was the one who sparked his interest in the landscape industry as he used to own a small residential landscape company and Malagisi would help him on the weekends
Jack Pohutsky from Pennsylvania State University earned the Farmside Landscape & Design Scholarship worth $2,000 in 2018 and 2019. He was awarded the Damgaard Family Landscape Contracting Scholarship worth $2,700 in 2020. He is majoring in landscape contracting with a minor in horticulture.
“Receiving the scholarships has been very motivational,” Pohutsky says. “Being recognized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals validates all the effort, hard work and time put into getting me where I am today. It has also created an avenue for contacts in the industry, helping to establish my professional career.”
Pohutsky says he has always been happiest outdoors and working with his hands. He says the landscape industry provides a way to utilize technology and problem-solving skills to combine his passion for environmental stewardship with creating functional and aesthetic outdoor spaces.
He says the scholarships are a way he can give back to his parents and show his appreciation for the sacrifice they have made for his education. He says he would not have been able to attend Penn State and become a part of NALP without their help.
“I applied each year for an NALP Scholarship because of the positive experience I had at my first NCLC Scholarship Banquet,” Pohutsky says. “It was inspiring to see so many accomplished peers throughout the United States, and it was a pleasure to meet and thank the Ambassadors in person. Also, for all those thinking about applying, the scholarship application is straight-forward and easy to fill out. There’s no reason not to apply!”
As for what the scholarship recipients plan to do after they graduate, Malagisi plans to work for another landscaping company for a full year before launching his own design/build and maintenance company.
Collier has a small nursery that she runs and teaches seminars for the surrounding neighborhoods. After graduating she says she wants to make the nursery bigger.
Pohutsky says he has accepted a position with R.P. Marzilli & Co. in the greater New England area.
“I will start as an Assistant Crew Leader and gain the field experience necessary to transition into an Assistant Project Manager position,” he says. “I also hope to work alongside their talented arbor crew during the winter months and earn an ISA certification. I am excited to start my career in the landscape industry and I am confident R.P. Marzilli’s family culture and positive professional atmosphere will help me succeed.”
He says he also plans to continue to be an active NALP member and establish an Alumni Affiliate Group with Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
“The group will connect students and alumni under a common goal of outreach,” Pohutsky says. “I am passionate about recruiting and hope to collaborate with the Landscape Contracting program to identify sustainable enrollment solutions.”
Apply for next year’s Foundation scholarships here.