Cal Poly Floral Design Team Wins First Overall in National Competition

Cal Poly’s Floral Design Team took home three first-place awards from the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) National Student Competition, held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas in July.

The team won first overall and first in the Flowers to Wear and Bridal Bouquet categories. The team also placed fifth in Sympathy Design and 10th in Interpretive Design. Competing team members were Alyssa Snow, a senior agricultural education major from Galt, California; Amber Buzzard, a junior from Orange, California studying animal science; and recent graduate Megan Borzone (Horticulture and Crop Science, ’19) from Copperopolis, California. As a team, they placed first overall. 

In the individual competitions, Buzzard earned second place overall, won first in Flowers to Wear, and placed sixth in both the Wedding Bouquet and Sympathy Design categories. 

“This was an experience I will never forget,” Buzzard said. “It was exciting and nerve-racking at the same time, and I’m already looking forward to the next competition.”

Borzone came in third place overall, second in Wedding Bouquet and fourth in Flowers to Wear. “The competition is challenging because no matter how much we think we’ve prepared, there are so many different factors that change the day of the event that we must adapt to when it comes to our designs,” Borzone said.

“This contest was extremely difficult because some of the categories actually changed the night before the contest,” added CalPoly team advisor and coach Melinda Lynch, floral design lecturer in the Horticulture and Plant Sciences Department. “Our students had to adapt to the change and still produce creative and cleanly executed designs. I am very proud of how each member was able to stay focused and level-headed.”

In all, 51 students from 13 institutions of higher education from the U.S. and Canada competed. Some of the schools participating include Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University, Missouri State University, Ohio State University, New Mexico University and Tennessee State.

The competition, held as part of the 2019 AIFD Symposium, is intended to give students an opportunity to use the floral design skills they are developing in class. It encourages creativity, resourcefulness and focus while providing real-life experience in a high-pressure situation. Students are judged on their use of color, depth, line, balance, focal emphasis, unity and proportion. Judges also consider the mechanics, appropriate interpretation of the category, and creativity.  

About the American Institute of Floral Designers
The mission of the American Institute of Floral Designers is to advance the art of professional floral design through education, service and leadership, and to recognize the achievement of excellence in this art form. Established in 1965 AIFD is, today, the floral industry’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing, maintaining and recognizing the highest standard of professional floral design. For more information, visit

About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranch land, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students.

In photo at the top, From Left to right, Melinda Lynch, Amber Buzzard, Megan Borzone, and Alyssa Snow at opening night of the 2019 American Institute of Floral Designers Symposium.

Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo

September 13, 2019

# # #

Related Content