The Monroe Kokin Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship

Each academic year, the Sarasota Orchid Society awards scholarships of $1,000.00 to one or more high school seniors or college students from Sarasota or Manatee County with a declared major in the study of horticulture, botany, environmental science, landscape design or other natural science subjects. The scholarship is for a one year period. Scholarship recipients attending college may reapply annually for a period of three additional years, if they continue to meet the criteria for the award. Scholarship money is released upon verification of the applicant’s status as a full time student ( at least 12 credit hours) and at least a 3.0 GPA.

To be eligible for the Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship, applicants shall:

  1. Have been a resident of Florida for at least one year preceding the academic year for which application is made.
  2. Be enrolled in a Sarasota or Manatee County High School as a full time student or enrolled as a college student with legal residence in Sarasota or Manatee.
  3. Declare a major in the natural science fields of study listed above.
  4. Submit 2 letters of recommendation; one from a staff member of the applicant’s current school and one from a person unrelated to the applicant.
  5. Submit a resume of extra-curricular activities, honors, leadership, job experience, and non-school activities and community service.
  6. Submit a statement explaining your interest in earning a degree in a natural science field.
  7. Submit a transcript with an 3.0 unweighted Grade Point Average or more, including SAT and/or ACT scores.
  8. Return the application (CLOSED for 2020) to: Barbara Delgato, Chairperson of the Scholarship Committee email: or FAX: 941-953-5736

 The Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship College Eligibilty Requirments

The Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship College Scholarship Application

The Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship HS Eligibilty Requirments

The Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship HS Scholarship Application


2020 Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship Recipients:


Charles O. Foster, a 2020 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, is a recipient of the Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship. He is an Eagle Scout and chapter chief of the Order of the Arrow (National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America) Oscen Tustenuggee Chapter. He is a member of the National Honor Society, the Band/Violin Ensemble, and is an altar server at his family’s church. He maintained a 174-container bucket garden using bio-friendly fertilizer and natural pesticides.  During the last two summers, he was selected for advanced science training programs at the University of Florida. He was awarded the prestigious Florida Alliance Scholar for his research on the resistance of an 8th generation hybrid pepper plant to root-knot nematodes. 

Charles will attend the University of Florida to major in Entomology and Nematology. He is very concerned about the decline of indigenous pollinators and plans to eventually earn his PhD in hopes of working on the development of environmentally friendly methods of pest control in hopes of saving wild indigenous honeybees. 


Sierra Smith, an outstanding 2020 graduate from Venice High with a 4.68 weighted GPA, is a recipient of the Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship. As a Girl Scout, she was involved in many community projects that revolved around helping the homeless. Gardening and art are her other interests. She has received local recognition for her art work at the Venice Art Show and Ringling College of Art and Design. For the past two years she was dually enrolled at the State College of Florida achieving a 3.58 GPA and earning an AA degree.

 Sierra will enter the University of South Florida in Tampa in Landscape Architecture as a junior in the fall. It is a 4-year program with a combined BS degree and Masters. In her goal statement she says,” I believe that Florida needs a landscape overhaul… as many current plants used in landscaping do not benefit Florida’s natural ecosystem. My goal is to incorporate more native plants in landscaping to create beautiful scenery, but also help the wildlife.”

2019 Monroe Kokin Memorial Sarasota Orchid Society Scholarship Recipients:

L to R: Marta Hudson, Betty Smith, Chloe Jan Schwab, Julia Rose Weber, Patty Turffs

Julia Rose Weber will attend UNC Ashville in Ashville, NC to major in environmental studies. Julia co-created a “food forest” project, at Riverview High School, to promote sustainable farming and gardening. She also volunteered at the Florida House Institute, Mote Marine Laboratories, and worked for Raw! Raw! Farmers’ Market. She is a member of the National Honor Society with a weighted gpa of 4.3

Chloe Jan Schwab will attend the University of Florida, Gainesville, to study botany. Chloe was a youth counselor at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens for 4 years, achieving the Silver Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Volunteer Award for 3 years as well as an avid volunteer at the Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences, and Philippi Shores Elementary School. She is a member of the National Honor Society with a weighted gpa of 4.7

2018 Scholarship Recipients:

L to R: Marta Hudson, Barbara Delgato, Jordan Olson and Patty Turffs.

Jordan Olson, awarded a $1000 scholarship in 2017 from the SOS, completed her first semester at St. Petersburg College with a GPA of 3.5 then transferred to State College of Florida. She will continue at State College of Florida for the 2018-2019 term then transfer to Auburn University to major in Agricultural Education. Her desire is to teach agriculture to middle school children to mentor them with FFA/4H projects, promote agriculture in her community, and foster a greater passion for horticulture.

L to R: Marta Hudson, Patty Turffs, Elizabeth Gape and  Barbara Delgato.

Elizabeth Gape will graduate Braden River High School, Bradenton, Florida with a GPA of 4.25. She is a Key Club member, V.P of the Senior Advisory Board, National Honor Society member, and Environmental Club member. At a young age, she knew she wanted to dedicate a portion of her life to educating young people. Her intention is to become a high school science teacher who hopes to inspire her students to understand local ecosystems, climate change, and the impact of humans on the environment.
Elizabeth will attend Florida State University in the fall. She plans to major in Environmental Sciences.

L to R: Patty Turffs, Michael Jungels and Betty Smith

Michael Jungels has completed 2 years in botanical science at the State College of Florida with a GPA of 3.75. He firmly believes that we should be growing floor to ceiling rather than fence-to-fence and that hydroponic gardening is the best solution for sustainable farming, to not only maximize yield, but also consume far less space, water, while using far less fertilizer and pesticides. His goal is to pursue an education in botanical sciences and agronomy, with an emphasis on the symbiotic relationship between mycelial fungi and plant roots in order to understand how to restore the damage caused by deforestation and the territorial expansion of humans.
Michael will attend Santa Fe Community College in the fall then transfer to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science.

2017 Scholarship Recipients:

L to R: Carly Fronckowiak, Venice High, Barbara Delgato and Patty Turffs of Scholarship Committee, Brady Schwabach, Booker High, Betty Smith of Scholarship Committee, and Jordan Olson, Palmetto High. Joy Jacobs, Venice High was absent. Students received $1,000 scholarships from the Sarasota Orchid Society to pursue their undergraduate studies in environmental or natural sciences.

Joy Jacobs – $1000 scholarship award

Joy is a graduate of Venice High School who plans to attend Florida Keys Community College (FKCC) to study Marine Environmental Technology then continue for her Bachelor’s Degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries, to become “The Aquaculture Girl” of Florida raising locally produced seafood. FKCC’s involvement in coral research and restoration projects fits Joy’s passion for marine science which she developed while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and studying its ecosystems. She participated in youth service projects for the Epiphany Cathedral Life Teen Youth Group, and the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program (MCJROTC) at Venice High.  She achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant with the MCJROTC Program and received several leadership awards. She was a volunteer during the summer of 2016 at Mote Marine Laboratories.

Brady Schwabach – $1000 scholarship award

Brady is a graduate of Booker High School who plans to study environmental engineering at the University of Florida. Brady participated in multiple service projects through the College for Every Student (CFES) program at Booker, and is the leader of Booker’s Men of Distinction club. His interest in environmental studies stems from his lifelong passion for fishing in Sarasota Bay, and has led him to pursue conservation efforts in Sarasota, such as petitioning against the dredging projects in the Bayshore neighborhood, and the development of Long Bar Pointe. He plans to return to southwest Florida after completing his education to develop and improve public infrastructure, and preserve this region as an enclave for biological diversity while simultaneously promoting its economic and social growth.

Jordan Olson – $1000 scholarship award

Jordan is a graduate of Palmetto High School who plans to attend St. Petersburg College for two years and then transfer to Auburn University to major in Agriscience Education and Communication. Jordan is a member of the AVID program, National Honor Society, Myakka All Stock 4H club, and Palmetto High FFA. Within the Palmetto High FFA, she is the vice president, rabbit show team coach, and committee chair for the Easter Seals Parents Night Out program. She has provided community service through her FFA club in landscaping the Palmetto Historical Park and Rocky Bluff Library, participated in Agriculture Literacy Day, and in Hunsader’s Pumpkin Festival.

Carly Fronckowiak – $1000 scholarship award

is a graduate of Venice High School who plans to attend Texas A&M University to major in Agricultural Systems Management. Carly’s volunteer work includes mission trips through St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, working with Heifer International in Rutland, Massachusetts, fundraising to purchase a water tank for a school for underprivileged children in the Dominican Republic, gleaning cornfields through AT Buzby Farms in Pilesgrove, New Jersey, beautification projects at Smokey Mountains National Park in Townsend, Tennessee, and the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. She is an officer of National Honor Society, president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, and served as president, vice-president, reporter, and historian in her 4-H club, and as the secretary of the 4-H Sarasota County Council.

Previous Scholarship Recipients:

Rachael Puleo – 2016  $1000 scholarship award

Rachael is a graduate of Pine View School for the Gifted who plans to major in Geoscience at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. RAchel’s volunteer service includes working with children as a camp counselor at St. Martha’s Church, tutoring preschoolers at the Brickhouse Academy, and as an education intern at Marie Selby Botanical Garden managing the Children’s Rainforest Garden and Kids Corner as well as Little Sprouts events.

Elizabeth Pluta – 2016  $1000 scholarship award

Elizabeth is a National Honors Society Member and a graduate of Sarasota High School who plans to major in Conservation and Environmental Science at either Florida State University or the University of Central Florida. She is a member of La Sertoa Community Service Club, as well as a volunteer at Colonial Oaks Park for the Relay for Life, the Miracle League, the animal shelter, and as a summer camp counselor.

Kasey Ray – 2016 $2000 scholarship award

Kasey is a graduate of Lakewood Ranch High School who plans to major in Agriculture with an emphasis in Horticulture at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA. She is a Vice President of the Lakewood Ranch FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter and has been working at Florida Suncoast Orchids for the last year learning orchid propagation and nursery management. Her volunteer service includes the Florida Parrot Rescue, the Honor Animal Sanctuary, and the Bradenton Twirling Academy

University of Florida – Robert M. Scully, Sr., Student Enhancement Fund in Orchids – 2013 $2000 

Chad Papa – 2011 $2000 scholarship award

While pursuing a B.S. in environmental science at the University of Florida, Chad participated in the restoration and conservation of rare orchids and ferns in Florida’s Everglades National Park, worked as a volunteer in Marie Selby’s horticulture department, served as president of the UF Chapter of Invisible Children which works to alleviate the suffering of children in war-torn Uganda,  and served on UF’s Ethnoecology Society which is devoted to the exchange of ideas on permaculture, ethnobotany, agroforesty, and sustainable agriculture.In Chad’s own words, his career goal is “to become an environmental scientist that works to better protect our environment and natural ecosystems.”

Jennifer Frederico – 2010 $1000 scholarship award

Jennifer’s Academics & Honors includes member of National Honor Society – 4 years; member of National Technical Honor Society her junior and senior years; enrollment at both Sarasota High & State College of Florida. Community Service includes volunteering over 200 hours with the following programs: Keep Sarasota County Beautiful & Sarasota County 4-H program. Leadership positions includes 4-H Club President for 2009 and 2010; Other Officer positions held included Vice-President, Secretary & Historian. Awards & Recognition included on awards and Superior Exhibitor awards at county, district and state events, some of which included both Best President, Best Secretary, Best V/P & Best Historian and Best Show Plants, Best Plant Display, Best Self-propagate Plants. Jenny was enrolled at the State College of Florida in Bradenton  – Fall 2010

Heather Hill – 2007 $2000 scholarship award

As a Selby Gardens’ intern and graduate student, Heather far exceeded our qualifications.We wish her continued success in her research in symbiotic orchid propagation of the endangered Oncidium ensatum in the Everglades National Park.

Anne Rosenbarger – 2004 $500 scholarship award

Anne Rosenbarger is a student whose career goal is to become a researcher in the field of botany. She will be attending Duke University in Raleigh, North Carolina in the fall. “My interest in research brought me to Dr. George Banez of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Under the mentorship of Dr. Banez I developed my interest in botany into a project dealing with native versus invasive plant species, specifically Florida’s omnipresent nuisance, the Brazilian Pepper verse native species of the same ecological niche. Solidified by a trip to the La Selva Biological Institute in Costa Rica with the Earthwatch program, my curiosity in research has become the cornerstone upon which I plan to pursue my education.”

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