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Emily Newsome is from the small rural town of Eatonton, Georgia with a population of about 21,000 people. She graduated from Putnam County High School in 2016 which had 737 students in grades 9-12. In High School, Emily was recognized as a Georgia Scholar and graduated as salutatorian.

At home, Emily’s dad always had a giant vegetable garden and Emily and her mom would mainly handle the “indoor processing” of his harvests, like shelling peas and canning green beans.

Emily has always liked being outdoors; she ran cross country and track, and was a member of the jazz band, marching band, Beta club, National Honor Society and Anchor Club, a service-based club focused on activities for the special needs students at the high school. She also served as a member of the GA State Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council her senior year.

When she started UGA, Emily was an undeclared major in the agricultural school. After rooming with a horticulture major her freshman year, Emily declared as a horticulture student halfway through her freshman year. She learned about the GMGA scholarship through one of her professors. She is not really clear how she got selected for the scholarship as she thinks all of her classmates are outstanding students.

Emily loves the horticulture program at UGA. She says the professors and her classmates all get along and provide a small-school feel to the huge campus of UGA. She particularly likes the scope of opportunities provided to her through the program, such as the horticulture club, the Trial Gardens, plant sales and the opportunity to travel. She has been able to visit gardens throughout the US including California, Washington state, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Last year, as a result of the GMGA grant, Emily was able to participate in the Arts and Gardens study abroad program where she went to France, Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom. These experiences introduced her to concepts such as green roofs. She said this would not have been possible without the GMGA grant.

The UGArden where Emily interns now is expanding at UGA. Her work in the herb garden has sparked an interest in the medicinal potential of plants. She believes with the focus on “natural” and “green” now, that the interest in the value and study of medicinal herbs is likely to expand in the future and there is not really a lot of research in that area at present.

Emily is very appreciative of the GMGA scholarship for horticulture students, particularly in her situation as it made possible for her to partake of some opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to her.