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As we approach the final push for scholarship nominations before April 15, 2024, here is a look at two winners from 2023 and how this financial support helps further their education and careers.

When you first meet Riley Pierce, his passion for the utility vegetation management industry is instantly recognizable.

“The only way forward is to help people as much as possible,” says Riley, who is known as “Tree Boy” to his family and friends.

Riley, one of two Nelsen Money Scholarship Awardees in 2023, says his interest in trees began in high school when he joined the Kent Roosevelt Forestry Career Program. He says what he learned in this program led him toward an arboriculture career. A student at West Virginia University, Riley sits on the WVU Tree Campus Committee, and is an executive board student member (the only student) on the Alleghany Society of American Foresters Board. During his senior year, he will lead the Arboriculture Club at WVU as president.

“I spent a summer in Virginia working with Dominion Energy on their powerline projects,” he said. “This is a career that helps people get their power and that gives me personal fulfillment. I hope to get a job with them after I graduate and then work with them until I earn my Board-Certified Master Arborist license. Then I plan to get a master’s degree in arboriculture and consult with companies about proper practices and furthering arboricultural knowledge.”

Amanda Gronemeyer, the second recipient of a Nelsen Money Scholarship, has been a tree person since her youth, and is pursuing one of her passions to become a professional arborist.

From her weekend work chipping brush on Saturdays with the Plymouth Wisconsin Department of Public Works in Wisconsin to focusing on and performing tree care and pursuing an education in the tree care industry, her supervisors and educators say Amanda is highly-motivated and a dedicated student to her trade.

“Receiving the Nelsen Money Scholarship helps facilitate the pursuit of my college degree and career goals,” Amanda said, “enabling me to acquire the wealth of knowledge needed to efficiently serve clients by implementing a high standard of tree care.”

Congratulations to Riley Pierce and Amanda Gronemeyer, the 2023 Nelsen Money Scholarship recipients!