Students from Stephen F. Austin State University recently competed in the J. Benton Storey Undergraduate Student Horticulture Judging Contest and brought home top awards. Pictured are, from left, Chris Capps, Cypress senior; Carnan Anderson, Bowie senior; Andrea Schroeder, Arlington senior; Rebecca Pledger, Brenham senior; and adviser Dr. Jeff Adkins.

A student team from Stephen F. Austin State University's Department of Agriculture recently returned from Atlanta, Ga., with top awards from the annual conference of the Southern Region of the American Society for Horticultural Science.

SFA students competing in the J. Benton Storey Undergraduate Student Horticulture Judging Contest won the first-place team award, first-place team for woody ornamentals, third-place team for greenhouse/floral crops and second-place team for vegetable crops. Chris Capps, a senior horticulture major from Cypress, took high-scoring individual in the entire contest and first place individual in woody ornamentals.

"While it's great to beat the likes of Texas A&M, the University of Georgia, Arkansas and others, events like this provide a unique opportunity to interact with peers from similar institutions and to be recognized by horticultural professionals outside of SFA," said Jeff Adkins, horticulture professor and Horticulture Club adviser. "Participation also serves to broaden the students' prospects for employment or graduate school opportunities, in addition to bringing prestige to the SFA horticulture program."

Lijing Zhou, Ph.D. candidate in SFA's Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, presented the results of her salinity work with bald cypress during a poster session at the conference. Dr. David Creech, horticulture professor, presented two oral papers, one dealing with the developing blueberry industry in China and another on the significant woody ornamental collections in the SFA Mast Arboretum.