County of Monmouth
June 23, 2017

Master Gardeners Sow Seeds in Higher Education
Scholarships awarded to students seeking careers in horticulture

FREEHOLD, NJ – On June 21, the Master Gardeners of Monmouth County awarded $3,000 from the Howard Bodnar Memorial Scholarship Fund to graduating Monmouth County high school seniors who are enrolling at New Jersey higher education institutions to study horticulture or an environmental science. Two 2017 Raritan High School graduates from Hazlet each received a $1,000 scholarship: Alex Barrett and Laura Rademacher.
Figure 1:l to r: Diane Larson, scholarship recipients Brianna Mitrione, Alex Barrett, & Laura Rademacher, Sheila Bodner, Kent Fleming, and Gayle Williams.This fall, Alex Barrett will attend Rutgers University, New Brunswick campus to pursue degree in microbiology. Laura Rademacher will also attend Rutgers University, New Brunswick campus and major in entomology. A third scholarship award of $1,000 was granted to Brianna Mitrione, Wall, who will attend Brookdale planning to study biology and horticulture. Ms. Mitrione graduated from Wall Township High School. The scholarship was named in memory of Master Gardener Howard Bodnar who passed away in 2016. Mr. Bodnar was a Lincroft resident, who graduated from the Master Gardener program in 2006. He worked passionately to expand the scholarship program that was established in 2004.
Master Gardener scholarships are awarded to residents who are enrolling at a New Jersey college and university to study horticulture, environmental science or a related field. Awardees are also selected based on their interest in horticulture, demonstrated through course work, extra-curricular activities, community service and employment as well as recommendations and grades.
Members of the 2017 Master Gardeners scholarship committee are Chairman Kent Fleming, South Amboy; Fran Ambio, Millstone; Evelin Gaffney, Rumson; Marvin Koren, Howell; Sue Malmi, Red Bank; Carol Migrala, Spring Lake; Carolyn Giovanniello, Morganville; Gordon Boak, Colts Neck. “Our Master Gardeners hold several events each year to support this unique scholarship program,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service that includes the Master Gardener program. “These hard-working volunteers are committed to learning all they can about gardening. To help our young adults continue their education in an environmental science is an extension of the Master Gardeners love for gardening and Monmouth County.”
Applications for the next Monmouth County Master Gardener scholarship program will be available in spring 2018 from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County. The deadline for submittal of a complete application is May 1. For more information, contact the Master Gardeners at 732-431-7260 or by email at
Photo caption: (l tor) Diane Larson, Horticulturist, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County; scholarship recipients Brianna Mitrione, Wall, Wall Township High School, Alex Barrett, Hazlet, Raritan High School, and Laura Rademacher, Hazlet, Raritan High School; Sheila Bodner, wife of Howard Bodnar, for whom the Howard Bodnar Memorial Scholarship Fund is named; Scholarship Fund Chairman Kent Fleming and Monmouth County Master Gardener Association President Gayle Williams.
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