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US (CA): Cal Poly aspiring entrepreneur named Shinoda Scholar of the Year

The Shinoda Foundation has awarded its highest honor, the Shinoda Scholar of the Year, to Gage Willey, a senior majoring in Agriculture and Environmental Plant Science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

“Gage represents the best and brightest of aspiring horticulturalists,” says Bob Otsuka, president of the Shinoda Foundation. “Supporting budding entrepreneurs like him is one of the privileges the Foundation enjoys in furthering industry growth.”

A 21-year-old from Nicolaus, California, Willey is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Greenhouse/Nursery Production. His goal is to own a production and retail nursery.

“Gage’s friendly, confident and professional attitude is perfect for a position that interacts extensively with faculty, staff, students and the public,” one of his employers said in a letter of recommendation.

Willey has been a student assistant manager at the greenhouses at Cal Poly, is Vice President of Pi Alpha Xi Honorary Horticultural Society; Vice President of the Cal Poly Horticulture Club; and is a member of the College Student Ag Council and the Cal Poly Crops Club.

He also volunteers for the FFA State Finals Competition. He has been on the Dean’s List since 2014 and has received several scholarships including the Shinoda Scholarship last year, the FFA California State Officer Scholarship and the California Garden Clubs Scholarship.

The Shinoda Foundation Board of Trustees awarded eleven scholarships this year totaling $21,000 and provided grants to the winners’ colleges and universities. Since 1965, The Shinoda Foundation has awarded more than $847,250 in scholarships to 684 students.

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