The Walter J. Travis Society has had a scholarship program since 2008. During each year of the scholarship, the competition has been fierce with up to 52 applicants vying for an award. Below are the winners for each year, going back to 2010. Earlier winners will be added.
2015 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS:
The following five students were selected from 24 applicants representing all corners of the U.S. and Canada, with 11 selected as finalists. Each excelled in the classroom, on the golf course, in community volunteer services, and personal development:
Ashton Radvansky–Ashton will be entering the School of Management at Bucknell University as a Freshman in the Fall of 2015. He is a highly regarded golf team recruit with a stellar record of golfing successes, at both the local and state level, throughout his high school career in Houston, Texas. He was the Texas State Junior Champion in 2012, and honorable mention all-state golfer during his sophomore and junior high school years. Ashton was a 3-year member of the National Honor Society during his high school career. In addition, he compiled a very impressive resume of community, extra-curricular, and volunteer services. Ashton qualified in the Amateur golfer division of our scholarship program.
Robert Tyler Vaughn–This Fall, Tyler will be a Freshman in the Professional Golf Management/College of Business program at Florida Golf Coast University. He completed his high school career with an outstanding record of academic achievement at the Jupiter Community High School in Tequesta, Florida. Throughout his high school career, Tyler demonstrated superb leadership skills through his active involvement in the Student Government Association. He was awarded the 2015 Congressional Golf Medal for his community service. Tyler was a four-year member of his high school’s varsity golf team, serving as Captain his senior year. For the past two years, he has won praise for his service as a caddy at the McArthur Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fl.
Mariana Gottret—In the Fall, Mariana will enter the Florida Golf Coast University’s Professional Golf Management program as a Junior. The past two years, Mariana attended Erskine College, in South Carolina, where she was on a very successful golf team and received special recognition for her academic success. Earlier, in her home country of Bolivia, Mariana was involved in several volunteer activities, such as Habitat for Humanity. She led, or assisted in, several events aimed at improving the welfare of low-income children, including the organization of a golf tournament to raise funds for “public school infrastructure improvement”. She aspires to be an influence for positive change in her home country, including the growth of golf.
Harrison Agena—Harrison completed his Freshman year in the Professional Golf Management program at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, NE, with a stellar academic record. Over the past few years, Harrison has been a member of various Honor Societies. He has enjoyed great success in wrestling and golf, at the local and state level, and has an impressive resume of community and church volunteer activities. Harrison’s personal and professional abilities earned him a 2015 summer internship at the prestigious Country Club of Lincoln, where he is lauded for his “work ethic, attention to detail, willingness to serve our membership”. Harrison passed his Player Ability Test, for PGA certification on his first attempt during the Fall of 2014.
Sydney Shaw—In the Fall, Sydney will be a Freshman at Bradley University pursuing a major in Business. She has earned a position on Bradley’s division 1 women’s golf team for 2015-16. Sydney graduated from the Orchard Park High School with an impressive academic record, and a record of success on the undefeated boy’s golf team. Sydney’s credentials as an amateur golfer are solidified by her play in Pinehurst’s North and South Junior Girls tournament and an invitation to the highly prestigious 2015 Porter Cup. In addition to golf, Sydney is involved in church youth groups, enjoys skiing, snowboarding, running, and serving as a Junior Golf Assistant for clinics and leagues at her home club, Orchard Park Country club, in Orchard Park, NY.
Sydney is the 2015 winner of The Walter J. Travis Memorial Scholarship that is reserved for students whose families are members of a Travis Society Member Club. Application requirements are the same as for the other Travis scholarship applicants.
2014 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS:
The following students were selected from a stellar group of 14 finalists for the Walter J. Travis Memorial Scholarship. A Selection Panel of 6 reviewers were very close to unanimous in their nominations of the top four applicants. This year’s winners are:
Payton Minear – Payton will be entering her Sophomore year at Florida Gulf Coast University as a student in the Professional Golf Management program. She just completed a highly successful freshman year that ended with her being placed on the President’s List for her “perfect 4.0 Spring semester Grade Point Average”. In addition to a stellar academic record during this past academic year, Payton compiled an impressive list of other accomplishments including many hours of volunteer work at golf events such as “First Tee” and “Special Olympic”, and church and community related activities. She passed her PGA Playing Ability Test on her first attempt and, according to the Director of her program, has successfully completed over 60% of a major component of the PGA curriculum. Personal attributes highlighted by her references are her integrity, character, passion for the golf industry, high level of commitment and hard work, a sense of optimism and humility, and “clarity of vision for her future”. Payton was a 2013 Walter J. Travis Memorial Scholarship winner, based on a very impressive record of accomplishments as a high schooler in Clive, Iowa.
Christopher Marra – Chris just completed the first semester of his Junior year as a Turfgrass Science student at Pennsylvania State University. During his time as a Penn St. student, Chris has impressed his academic advisor with his “intelligence, work ethic, and sense of responsibility”, and is described as “the most ambitious and dedicated student in his class”. Thus far, he has earned a 3.99 grade point average, and has been the recipient of several academic and leadership honors. During the 2013-14 school year, Chris was employed as a part-time research assistant where he has assisted with fertilizer experiments, soil sampling, collection of data, and won praise from his supervisor for his dependability, “excellent verbal” and written communication, and “pride in his work”. He is an active member of the Penn St Turf Club and their Turf Bowl Student Competition team. Chris successfully completed an internship at Oakmont Country Club during the summer of 2013 and, for 2014, he has an internship at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. Chris was a 2013 recipient of the Walter J. Travis Memorial Scholarship, and hails from Clyde, PA.
Benjamin Hatala – In the Fall, Ben will be a Junior in the College of Business at Mississippi State University, with a major concentration in PGA Golf Management. With a heavy academic workload, including keeping his golf game at a required level, he has maintained an impressive grade point average. Meanwhile, Ben is interning this summer at Kiva Dunes in Golf Shores, Alabama. Ben’s references stressed his excellent work ethic, professional manner, positive attitude, and leadership abilities. He is described as “proactive”, with the ability to “anticipate what needs to be completed to ensure success”. These characteristics have earned him the respect of peers and upperclassmen. In his excellent scholarship application essay, Ben not only carefully complied with the essay directions, but demonstrated a terrific sense of humor and the ability to think “outside the box”. Volunteer service, such as Habitat for Humanity, is a reflection of his stated personal goal of making “a difference in the lives of others”. Ben’s hometown is Columbus, GA.
Harrison John Agena – Harrison has completed a very successful high school career with his graduation from the Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca High School in Syracuse, Nebraska. While in high school, Harrison took advantage of the University of Nebraska’s Early Entry program, earning A’s in each of the several “personal enrichment” courses he took. While successfully handling a full academic load, Harrison gave generously of his time to community and church activities such as the local food pantry, March of Dimes, Adopt a Highway, and several others. Harrison cites golf as a passion that has taught him “patience, perseverance, honesty, and integrity”. A reference described him as “someone who plays the game, loves the game, and wants to pass that passion on to those who want to play golf” and “understands the importance of helping the community”. The past three summers, Harrison’s work on a country club grounds crew has reinforced his dream to “work on or around a golf course environment”. During high school, Harrison was a four-year letterman in golf, and served as team co-captain the last two years. For a person of his age, Harrison has faced unique and difficult challenges that, according to a former teacher, he met “head-on” with “unwavering determination” resilience, and maturity.
2013 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS:
Carlyn Babinec (North Olmsted, Ohio)
For the past three years, Carlyn has been a student in the Sport and Exercise Science program at Gannon University, in Erie, PA, working towards her degree in Physical Therapy. Outstanding academic work during her first three years of college earned acceptance into Gannon’s rigorous Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Carlyn’s academic accomplishments and her success on Gannon’s women’s golf team have led to being twice named a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete. Her golf coach lauds her “work ethic, dedication, maturity, gratitude, and enthusiasm towards golf” and has been impressed with her ability to “prioritize her studies while continuing to be a valuable member of our golf team”. In addition to golf, Carlyn enjoys competing in triathlons. Campus activities have included the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society and Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honors Society. Off-campus, Carlyn has been involved in a variety of settings providing physical therapy experiences, including the Cleveland Clinic where she worked with patients in the clinic’s Return to Golf program.
Christopher Marra (Cecil, PA)
In the Fall, Chriswill be entering his Junior year as a student in the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, with a major in Turfgrass Science. As in high school, Chris has maintained a high level of academic performance at Penn State, with a GPA of 3.98. He has received several awards in recognition of his academic achievement, and leadership potential. Jobs and internships have provided Chris with extensive experience on a golf course maintenance crew. Currently, involvement as a technician, assisting in data collection with fertilizer experiments, is providing him with direct exposure to the research side of the turfgrass industry. Chris’s academic advisor describes him as “the most ambitious and dedicated” of the students “in his sophomore class”. The owner-general manager of the golf course where Chris has worked for several years, describes him as “a hard worker…problem solver, team player…well-liked, pleasant to work with and committed to doing a good job”. Outside of work and school, Chris describes himself as an “avid sportsmen who enjoys hunting and all outdoor sports”.
Payton Minear (Clive, Iowa)
Payton will be entering the Florida Golf Coast University Professional Golf Management Program in the Fall of 2013. She just completed a great high school career during which she compiled an exceptional academic record while leading her high school golf team to two consecutive Iowa State golf championships. In the process, Payton set several high school individual golfing records and, in 2012, was her high school’s first girl’s state golf champion. In 2011, Payton was Iowa’s PGA Junior Tour Player of the Year. Out of the classroom and off the golf course, Payton has devoted many hours to school, church, and community volunteer service. Much of her time has been dedicated to working with individuals with special needs. Her career goal is to become a golf professional, with a special interest in teaching people of all ages, and “introducing more juniors and women to the wonderful game of golf”.
Andrew Travers (Lynn, MA)
Andrew has been accepted into the University of Massachusetts’ Stockbridge School of Agriculture, with a major in Turfgrass Management. During his high school career at the Malden Catholic High School, Andrew compiled a solid academic record while being engaged in several extracurricular activities. He received awards not only for his accomplishments in golf and hockey but also for campus ministry. During his senior year, Andrew served as Captain of his high school golf team, and contributed to his school and community through several volunteer services. While employed at a golf course, the past three years, Andrew earned the reputation as a “fine young man” who is a “quick learner” and a “leader of his peers“. It was during this period of time that Andrew began to develop an interest in becoming a golf course superintendent. He learned that “it is more than cutting grass. It is a science, and I know that I want to pursue greens keeping as a career.” In addition to golf, Andrew enjoys fishing, outdoor activities, and “working with my hands”.
2012 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS:
Dylan Bass (Garden Valley, Idaho):
Dylan will be a sophomore at the University of Idaho this fall, with a Business/Marketing major and PGA Professional Golf Management option. Throughout high school and his freshman year in college, Dylan has accrued an excellent academic record. In high school, he was an accomplished multi-sport athlete who earned special conference and state-level recognition for both his athletic and academic achievements. In 2011, he won his high school district golf championship and placed 6th in the Idaho high school divisional golf championship. His resume includes a very impressive list of community and school volunteer activities. Dylan’s application included numerous letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, community and golf course officials lauding his character, maturity, leadership, motivation, and intelligence. Dylan has been around a golf course and golf shop operations for many years where he developed his love for golf, and honed his golfing skills. His ambition is to become a Head Golf Professional or Director of Golf. At the present time, Dylan is involved in his first PGM internship at the Jackpot Golf Club in Jackpot, NV.
Clyde Johnson (Athens, Georgia):
Clyde is a second-year graduate student in the Masters of Landscape Architecture at the University of Georgia. He earned his undergraduate degree in Structural Engineering and Architecture at the University of Sheffield in England. Throughout his schooling Clyde has maintained an impressive level of academic achievement. Clyde writes eloquently of his goal to become a golf course architect who, in his words, would be “willing to travel to new golfing frontiers, working closely with the land”, drawing inspiration from the “classical courses and writings of the so-called ‘Golden Age’ architects” while recognizing the need for “affordability and environmental sensibility”. Clyde’s aspirations include writing “as a way to express my views on golf course design, critique inspirational golf holes, and to reflect on the state of the industry”. His letters of recommendation provide examples of Clyde’s ability to impress and inspire others with his enthusiasm, dedication, and knowledge. One reference described him as a “rare talent”. Currently, Clyde is interning with Tom Doak’s firm, Renaissance Golf, which is constructing a new 18-hole golf course at the Dismal River Club in Mullen, Nebraska.
Daniel Robert Rude (Cottage Grove, Minnesota):
Dan is a repeat winner of our scholarship, having won in 2011. He is returning to the University of Minnesota in the Fall as a 5th year senior, completing his double major of Landscape Design and Planning, and Horticulture. Dan has maintained an outstanding academic record while pursuing experiences that are providing him with an in-depth understanding of issues involved in the design, construction, maintenance, sustainability, and accessibility of golf courses. This past year, Dan successfully completed an intensive, 6-month internship under the supervision of the Senior Superintendent of the Hong Kong Golf Club where he was praised for his understanding of the “relationship between design and maintenance of golf courses”. This summer, Dan returned to Asia to take part in a volunteer English teaching program in Vietnam and Hong Kong. It will be exciting to see where Dan’s career path takes him, but his credentials lead us to believe that he will make a very positive and significant contribution to the golf industry.
Gabriella Sinkovic (Bowie, Maryland):
In the Fall, Gabriella will begin her junior year majoring in Professional Golf Management in the College of Natural Resources at the North Carolina State University. Gabriella barely missed being a 2011 Walter J. Travis Memorial Scholarship winner (though that was not a factor considered by the 2012 review panel). Gabriella has an exemplary academic record throughout high school and college, while actively participating in a variety of community, campus, and volunteer activities. Several of these activities have involved mentoring, tutoring, or coaching interns or junior golfers. Since January 2012, Gabriella has been interning in the Bandon Dunes Golf Shop at the Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon. This shop has been recognized as the top resort golf shop in the country for a number of years, and is one of the busiest of the resort’s golf shops. Within this setting, Gabriella is described as “calm, welcoming and friendly”, displaying intelligence, enthusiasm, and a strong work ethic. Gabriella credits her experience at Bandon Dunes as eliciting a “newfound passion and admiration for golf course architecture”, widening her horizon of golf-related career choices.
Paul Montanaro (Brockport, NY)
Paul was entering Campbell University as a Freshman in the professional golf management program. He had achieved an impressive academic record throughout his high school career, with a straight A average in all courses. In addition to academics, Paul’s resume demonstrated a strong commitment to community service. His combined athletic and academic accomplishments earned him all-county scholar-athlete awards. He earned all-county recognition as a varsity golfer each of his high school years. His teachers and coaches describe him as an all-around individual who contributes in significant ways to his community.
Daniel Rude (Cottage Grove, MN)
Daniel was a 5th year senior at the University of Minnesota, with a major in Landscape Design and Planning, and Horticulture (Turfgrass Science). His personal goal is to become a golf course architect. Daniel’s academic record is exemplary, with his course of study providing a broad-based understanding of factors involved in the design and maintenance of a golf course. He is described as highly motivated with excellent leadership qualities and abilities to work with others. At the time, he was engaged in a 6-month program in golf course management at The Hong Kong Golf Club, where he had the opportunity to be closely involved in a major turfgrass science research center.
Abby Sorensen (Erie, PA)
Abby won the Travis Society scholarship for the third time. She was finishing her Junior year at Allegheny College where she maintained the high level of academic excellence she had shown in previous years. She was honored with a Scholar Award recognizing her as one of the top 5 students in her class. She served as sports editor and writer for the campus newspaper and, during the past 2 years, was a Resident Advisor. Abby earned a varsity letter in golf each of her years at Allegheny College, and helped her team to its 6th consecutive invitation to the NCAA Division III Championships. As a Women’s Studies major, Abby has researched and submitted papers dealing with various women’s issues in golf. Following her graduation from Allegheny, Abby plans to enter the PGA Professional Golf Management Apprentice Program to further her dream of becoming a Head Golf Professional or Director of Golf.
Brendan McKee (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Brendan was a fourth year student in the University of Guelph’s Landscape Architecture program, majoring in golf course design. He was an excellent student through high school, and in his first three years of college. He received the Golf Association of Ontario scholarship for academic and golf excellence. Throughout high school and at the University of Guelph, Brendan has played on the varsity golf team. He has enjoyed success in various golf tournaments including winning the Toronto City Championship in 2007. Earlier, he served as a caddy for Canadian Tour events and at the Scarboro Golf and Country Club. Brendan’s ultimate goal is to become a golf course architect, and to design accessible and sustainable golf courses, that will “inspire and nurture the love of the game in others”.
Benjamin Comeau: In 2010, Ben was an Alfred, ME resident about to enter Northeastern University as a Freshman in their Engineering program. The emphasis of his program was “irrigation design and management systems for golf courses and athletic fields”. Ben’s ultimate goal was to become a golf course architect. He graduated high school with a 99l5 gpa, ranking 5th in his graduating class of 262. Work experiences included two summers on the Cape Arundel Golf Club’s seasonal maintenance staff. References contained glowing reviews of his strength of character, positive attitude, intelligence, dedication to family and friends, and involvement in community. Ben described himself as “passionate about the game of golf”.
Smylie Kaufmann: In 2010, Smylie was a resident of Birmingham, AL and preparing to enter Louisiana State University as a Business major and member of the golf team. His goal’s included trying to qualify for the PGA Tour and later becoming a Head Golf Professional. He had a stellar academic record in high school and was very activie in student government. He was a 6-year letterman on his school’s varsity golf team. In 2006, in response to the devastating effects of cancer among four children under 7 in his neighborhood, Smylie and his brother, Luckie, founded “Kids with Cancer”. At that point, the organization had raised over $65,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Alabama’s research department in Hematology and Oncology. His efforts were recognized by the 2008 President’s Youth Leadership Award from the USGA and AJGA’s Youth Leadership Club.
Tanner R. Kelley: As a resident of Okanogan, WA, Tanner was entering the University of Idaho as a freshman in Business and Marketing with Professional Golf Management Certification. Tanner’s goals included becoming a golf course owner and manager. In high school, he won several awards for his academic accomplishments, and was a First-Team all-league golfer in 2009. While a high schooler, Tanner was selected during two summers to attend leadership conferences at Gonzaga U. and the U. of Washington. His references emphasized his commitment to excellence, desire to help others, leadership, strong work ethic, and ability to interact effectively with a wide range of people.
Abby Sorensen: Abby was finishing her Sophomore year at Allegheny when she became a repeat winner of the Travis Society scholarship. Her academic record during her Sophomore year was impeccable, with a GPA of 4.00 the first semester and a 3.97 the second. Abby was a Resident Advisor. and she conducted weekly tutoring sessions with a Chinese exchange student. She was the “Sports Writer” for the campus newspaper, covering a spectrum of on and off-campus sports activities. Abby won her second varsity golf letter, leading her team in scoring average during the Spring season. One of her professors detailed Abby’s outstanding qualities as a student and person, emphasizing characteristics and accomplishments that caught the eye of each reviewer on the scholarship screening panel.