The U.S. Apple Association announced in a news release the 2023 class of its emerging leader program, the NextGen Apple Fellowship. In its second year, the program focuses on providing fellows with professional and leadership development, one-on-one mentoring, hands-on advocacy and community engagement.

The 2023 class includes six fellows from across the country: Kostas Batziakas, senior scientist/technical project manager at Crunch Pak in Washington; Ely Giroux, production manager at Chazy Orchards in New York; Emily Kropf, associate crop insurance specialist at GreenStone Farm Credit Services in Michigan; Aimee Peters, West Coast business development manager at FirstFruits Farms in Washington; Jesus Rodriguez, horticulturalist/assistant area manager at Washington Fruit and Produce Co. in Washington; and Jennie Strong, communications and outreach specialist at the Washington Apple Commission in Washington.

“Following an extensive interview process with applicants from across the country, we are excited to name the 2023 class of the NextGen Apple Fellowship,” said Elizabeth Pauls of Wittenbach Orchards in Michigan, USApple board member and chair of the NextGen advisory committee. “Each of the fellows was chosen because of their distinguished work in the apple sector, their tremendous potential and their enthusiasm for the fellowship. USApple is excited for this class of individuals who come from diverse careers in the apple industry and balance one another with a vast collection of strengths and expertise.” 

The 2023 NextGen Apple Fellowship will have its kickoff meeting in Washington, D.C., March 14–17, in conjunction with USApple’s Capitol Hill Day. The program runs through December 2023. To learn more about the fellowship, go to:

by Jonelle Mejica