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2023 Scholarship Recipiants





Luis is currently working on his A.A.S in Horticulture with a certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture and greenhouse management. He is a veteran who served as a combat engineer in the United States Marine Corps. His short term goal is to work at an urban farm to enhance his agricultural and cultivation skills while completing a bachelor’s degree in science with a major in Botany. His long term goal is to work at an agricultural research facility to make a significant difference in the green industry. He is currently working as a Climbing Arborist Trainee with Davey Tree Experts in Naperville


College of Du Page

2023 Norma Johnson Scholarship 


Sam has just completed his first year at the College of Dupage and his classes included Introduction to Horticulture and Sustainable Design. He is a recent Navy veteran who is passionate about the healing and medicinal properties of plants and their ability to help people who are struggling with physical and emotional issues. Sam’s career goal is to start up a not for profit farm where he will grow a variety of plants that will be used in teaching people how to garden and heal themselves in a peaceful setting. He is also an artist who combines the power of art and nature to teach how to protect and preserve our environment. The adjunct professor who wrote Sam’s recommendation was so impressed with him that she will be hiring him as an intern for her own company





Jennifer Suszek is a student at the College of DuPage and a mother of two young children. She is pursuing an A.A.S. Horticulture degree, will graduate in 2024 and her career goal is to become a certified arborist. She has a special interest in native and sustainable landscaping. Jennifer has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and plans to study Landscape Plants, Plant Pathology and OSHA safety regulations this year. Her previous classes included Applied Plant Taxonomy, 2-cycle Engine Repair and Arboriculture. Jennifer is currently employed by the Park District of Oak Park as the Supervisor of Horticulture


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2023 Pat Menzenberger Scholarship



Yinchao Hu is a PhD student in the NRES Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research aims to gain a better understanding of the sources, transport, and transformations of nitrate – a nutrient and a surface water contaminant – in intensively tile-drained agricultural landscape in the Upper Midwest. Yinchao is actively engaged in field practices and has fostered effective communication with farmers and agricultural technicians which have provided her with

invaluable insights in addressing the practical challenges associated with nitrate pollution in farmland.


In recognizing the importance of finding solutions that minimize pollution while safeguarding the interests of farmers, she has also gained a deep understanding of the need to minimize additional costs and navigate the challenges imposed by variable weather conditions when regulating fertilizer application.


Her research efforts have resulted in the completion of two manuscripts that contribute to our understanding of nitrate dynamics in agricultural systems. Her first manuscript was submitted to the Journal of Water Resources Research.  Yinchao is currently preparing the second manuscript for submission.


The financial support she will receive from the GCDG will allow her to attend conferences, conduct fieldwork, and access necessary resources and equipment.


Yinchao has maintained a 3.66 GPA.

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