Scotts and HOPS

HOPS is made possible by generous grants from The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company of Marysville, Ohio (Scotts). Since HOPS' beginning in 2008, Scotts has been a key sponsor in ensuring the program's success. In addition to their support of HOPS, Scotts also supports the National Garden Internship and they played an indispensable role in fundraising to design and build the National Garden Fellowship.

Learning from the experts

In 2014, four expert scientists from Scotts Miracle-Gro visited the HOPS program to conduct experiments with the students.  

Ashleigh Lemon
Biology Specialist, Live Goods
The Scotts Company, LLC

Ashleigh Lemon received her bachelor’s degree in conservation science with a minor in biology from Muskingum University. She took part in animal behavioral research about the Przewalski Wild Horse and completed her senior research project on the parasite P. tenuis at the Wilds, the largest conservation center in North America.   Ashleigh served as Head Naturalist at Salt Fork State Park for 4 years followed by a Conservation Education position at The Wilds. Currently, a Biology Specialist in Live Goods at The Scotts Company, she researches flowering annuals developing the Miracle-Gro Flowering Plant line. In her spare time, she serves as the Media Coordinator for The German Village Garden Club and enjoys kayaking, hiking, and spending time with her two dogs.

Sara Pettigrew
Specialist, Gardens
The Scotts Company, LLC

Sara Pettigrew received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in biology, focusing on animal behavior.  Before joining the Scotts Miracle-Gro company, Sara conducted research for the EPA on a water quality project for the Lake Erie region. Sara’s passion for research led her to join the Scotts’ team as a biology specialist in the Garden’s group.  She now specializes in developing growing media and live seed products.

Rebecca (Becky) Torisky
Scientist, Biotechnology
The Scotts Company, LLC

Becky Torisky has always loved plants, animals, gardening, and nature with the hope that she could apply these interests to a fulfilling and useful career. In 1981 she received her Bachelors Degree in Biology at Seton Hill College, at which time she decided to focus on plants. 

Becky continued her studies, first getting a masters degree in Botany at Virginia Tech in 1985. She then began an internship at Monsanto where she first learned about the emerging and exciting field of DNA cloning and plant transformation and how it could help plants grow better under adverse conditions and how it could make a difference in the world’s ecology and food availability.

She returned to school to pursue this field, and in 1992 earned her doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Missouri.  After two postdoctoral assignments, one at The University of Kentucky and one at North Carolina State University, she came to Scotts Miracle-Gro in 1998 to work in their new Biotechnology Department.  Here, Becky has been working with a team of scientists to develop new, environmentally hardier, and more ecologically-friendly, varieties of lawn grasses and garden plants. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, bird-watching, creating art, and bicycling!

Gretchen White
Senior Specialist, Naturals Gardens
The Scotts Company, LLC

Gretchen White received her bachelor's degree from Denison University in biology where she became interested in wildlife research while working on a senior research project to better understand how spotted salamanders use their habitat.  She then did grassland bird habitat for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources before joining Scotts Miracle-Gro's wild bird food research and development team as a biologist.  Her work with the wild bird food R&D team led her to get her master's degree in wildlife science at Purdue University. She now works with the growing media team at Scotts Miracle-Gro to develop natural and organic soil products.