Penn State Students Win Trans-Mississippi Turf Scholarships

December 17, 2014 in 2-year, Articles, Awards

Sean Kelly - 2014 Vickers ScholarPenn State senior Sean Kelly was selected as the 2014 Vickers Scholarship winner, highlighting the class of eight collegians who comprised this year’s Trans-Mississippi Golf Association Turf Scholarship Winners.

Kelly received the highest honor – a $7,500 scholarship – as he completes his Associate’s Degree in Golf Course Turfgrass Management. He also receives an engraved medal and other gifts from the Trans-Miss Golf Association (TMGA).

“It’s a great honor to be selected as the Vickers Scholar,” Kelly said. “With the large number of qualified applicants, it’s amazing that I was selected as the winner.”

Kelly holds a 3.91 GPA in Golf Course Turfgrass Management, a progression that has been bolstered by internships at two of the country’s iconic clubs: Whistling Straits and Shinnecock Hills. He didn’t start playing golf until the 11th grade. Once he started, however, he was hooked.

“I played on my high school team and recreationally all through college,” Kelly said. “That’s how I got started in Turf School. I just wanted to be on the golf course all the time.”

When Kelly graduates in the spring, he hopes to land an assistant-in-training position at a prestigious club.

Four additional students were selected to receive $5,000 scholarships. They include Michael Kennings, a Michigan State junior from Fenton, Mich.; Michael Medley, a University of Tennessee senior from LaFollette, Tenn.; Morgan Robins, a Penn State senior from Owen Sounds, Ontario, Canada; and Jordan Carbone, a Georgian College junior from Erin, Ontario, Canada.

Kennings received the W.D. McBee, Jr. Scholarship. He carries a 3.56 GPA in Crop and Soil Science and is a student member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). Kennings balances school with work at Spring Meadows Country Club in Linden, Mich. There he has gained an array of experience in maintenance and agronomy.

Medley won the Francis Whittaker Scholarship. He has a 3.95 GPA in Turfgrass Science and Management. Medley has worked at numerous golf courses across Tennessee and currently holds an internship at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., and volunteers at LaBar Golf Renovations, which is across the street from Winged Foot.

Robins received the Ron Moore Scholarship. He holds a 3.77 GPA in Golf Course Turfgrass Management and is a GCSAA student member and a member of the Georgian Bay Superintendents Association. Robins currently handles all the fertilizer and chemical applications at Capilano Golf and Country Club in West Vancouver, B.C.

Carbone received the Jackie Lee Scholarship. He has a 3.10 GPA in Golf Management Business, is a GCSAA student member, serves on the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council and is a member of The Penn State Turf Club. Carbone has worked at several prestigious clubs, including Baltusrol, Loch Lomand and Osprey Valley.

Three other students received $3,000 scholarships, including Christopher Notestine from Michigan State (Tom Crow Scholarship), Luellen Swayzer from California Polytechnic State (Jack Nicklaus Scholarship) and Matthew Herrmann from Penn State (Curtis Ford Scholarship).

In addition to the eight scholarships, the TGMA awarded another $49,000 to 13 U.S. golf clubs to support their internship programs related to agronomy and turf sciences. Those clubs include: Des Moines Golf & Country Club, Bel-Air Country Club, Crooked Stick Golf Club, Southern Hills Country Club, the Minikahda Club, the Honors Golf Club, Mission Hills Country Club, Cedar Ridge Country Club, Cherry Hills Country Club, Wichita Country Club, Brook Hollow Golf Club, Flint Hills National and La Jolla Country Club.

For more information on the Trans Scholarship Program, please visit