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Scholarship Program

The Central Coast Chapter has been conducting a "Scholarship Program" for many years. Income from the sale of rootstock, pheromone loops, birdnet and various plant sales helps to fund the program. A small committee of volunteers works with Dr. Lauren Garner, Fruit Science Professor at Cal Poly. She shares the scholarship information and encourages qualified Fruit Science students to apply. The committee then evaluates and scores the applications and recommends those to be granted a scholarship.


The Central Coast Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers awarded scholarships to six very worthy students.  Recipients received their awards at the the April 2024 meeting at the Student Experimental Farm at Cal Poly SLO.

Pictured are Eduardo Damian, Bradley Levin, Gabrielle Robbins (Scholarship Committee chair), Saiyen Wells, Brysan Pensenti, Jiashee Thao, and Shaelyn Spencer.


No scholarships.


After taking a two-year absence from meeting due to the COVID pandemic, the Scholarship Committee met to discuss the twelve applicants Dr. Garner presented to us for scholarship funds. The reason for the high number was directly because of our two-year absence. As a result, Dr. Garner picked students that might’ve received scholarships during 2020 and 2021 in addition to this year’s students. All of Dr. Garner’s applicants received a scholarship.

Scholarship committee and scholarship recipients. From left and back row, Karen Kolba, Marv Daniels, Tucker Schmidt, Nell Wade (scholarship chair), Aidan Inoue (recipient), Inez Keller (recipient), Jenna Keller (recipient), Seth McMillan (chapter co-chair). Front row, Dr. Lauren Garner (Cal Poly Professor) and Ashley Pearce (recipient).

Not pictured: Sawyer Claussen, Colin Koubek,


The Central Coast Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers awarded scholarships to six very deserving students.

Awardees Taylor Krebs (a graduate of Arroyo Grande High School) and Kyanne Skelton (a graduate from Midland in Los Olivos) received their awards at the the September 2019 meeting at the CRFG Demonstration orchard. Awardees Adam Afriade, Sammy Springer, Gareth McCormick, and Annie O’Neill received their awards at the October 2019 meeting at Rick Tibbens' home.


Joe Sabol (left) and Tucker Schmidt (right) present 2019 winners Taylor Krebs and Kyanne Skelton with their scholarship awards.


Joe Sabol listens to 2019 awardees Adam Afriade, Sammy Springer, and Annie O’Neill, and Gareth McCormick.


Saturday, October 13th, the Central Coast Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers awarded $4,600 in scholarships to eight outstanding Fruit Science Students at Cal Poly. The students attended our October chapter meeting along with their faculty advisor, Dr. Lauren Garner.

This year's awardees are Heidi Burgess, Victor Guadian, Vincent Koster, Mitchell Moreda, Jose Munoz, Geena Rohr, Emma Sertich, and Joni Shaffery.


2018 awardees: Victor Guadian, Jose Munoz, Emma Sertich, Vincent Koster, Dr. Lauren Garner, Mitchell Moreda, Joni Shaffery, and Geena Rohr. Not pictured: Heidi Burgess, who is studying abroad in Italy this fall.


This year the chapter awarded eight scholarships! Dr. Lauren Garner, Cal Poly professor in the department of Horticulture and Crop Science, said the following about this year's pool of steller applicants:

"I want to thank the CRFG for the time and effort that they continue to give to this scholarship program. This year, I knew that the committee would have a tough time choosing a scholarship winner from among the applicants. It has been a real treat to have all of these students in my classes this year. They are all hard-working students with unique talents and strengths. The committee obviously recognized this too but I was still overwhelmed that the committee and chapter leadership, chose to award scholarships to all of them! I have enjoyed getting to know them and I know the CRFG members will too."

Awardees are Kaitlyn Garcia, Foster Hengst, Haleigh Jones, James (Sunny) Brucker, Michaela Chin, Dulce Espinoza-Valdez,
and Kalena Bonnier-Cirone, and David Luevano.


All awardees will also receive a one year membership in our organization, the CRFG, Inc., and so will be receiving our bi-montly magazine, the Fruit Gardener.


2017 awardees, back row: Kaitlyn Garcia, Kalena Bonnier-Cirone, Pet Daniels (scholarship committee member), David Luevano, Sunny Brucker, Michaela Chin, Foster Hengst, Haleigh Jones.
Front row: Marv Daniels(scholarship committee member), Dick Pottratz (Central Coast Chapter Treasurer).


2017 awardee Dulce Espinoza-Valdez (center) was able to meet with Joe Sabol and Dr. Lauren Garner at a later date to receive her award.


Four scholarships were awarded this year. The recipients for 2016 were: Julie Dunbar, Shun Toida, Kathleen Warde, and Rachel Wehrman.


2016: Dick Pottratz (Central Coast Chapter Treasurer), Shun Toida, Kathleen Warde, Rachel Wehrman, and Fruit Science professor Dr. Lauren Garner

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