2018 News Releases


Former Marine Marcus Lounello wins top award in GCSAA Scholars Competition

by Oct 02, 2018 | Sarah Huerter

Sixteen students were selected to receive scholarships.

Lawrence, Kan. (Oct. 2, 2018)  – Marcus Lounello, a Pennsylvania State University student, is the winner of the Mendenhall Award of $6,000. Originally of Glendale, Colo., Lounello served in Afghanistan as a member of the United States Marine Corps and received a near-fatal gunshot wound. The injury was a life-changing experience that greatly impacted him, physically and mentally. After months of recovery and therapy, Lounello began to walk again and discovered the game of golf and its benefits. 

Through the Semper Fi Foundation, Lounello was introduced to other injured service members. The groups would connect and talk about their injuries while playing golf. He discovered a passion for the game and decided to find a career in golf management.  

Lounello interned with Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colo. before deciding to pursue a degree in turfgrass management at Penn State. He has also interned with the Denver Country Club and will receive his degree in March. He plans to find a managerial position at a course in the Denver area and develop a veteran work program. Lounello hopes to help fellow veterans make the transition from military life to civilian life easier through hosting annual golf outings for them to come together. 

 "I am so honored and proud to have received the Mendenhall award. This was a huge surprise and I am grateful to be able to represent Penn State in winning this award,” said Marcus Lounello. "This provided me with a huge boost of confidence in my career and it is really special to know that all the hard work that I have put in this past year has paid off.”

These scholarships range from $500 to $6,000. Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized undergraduate program in a major field related to turf management, have completed at least 24 credit hours or the equivalent of one year of full-time study in the appropriate major, and be a member of GCSAA.

The GCSAA Scholars Competition is primarily funded by the Robert Trent Jones Endowment and administered by the Environmental Institute for Golf, GCSAA's philanthropic organization. It was developed to recognize outstanding students planning careers in golf course management.

The top award in the Scholars Competition is named for the late Chet Mendenhall, who was a charter member of GCSAA, a past president (1948) and recipient of the association’s Distinguished Service Award (1986).

Amy Wilbur of Delmar, Md., who attends Ohio State University, received the second place award of $5,000 known as the MacCurrach Award. It is named in honor of the late Allan MacCurrach, who became the PGA Tour’s first staff agronomist in 1974 and was the GCSAA Distinguished Service Award winner in 1997. The PGA Tour funds this award. Lounello and Wilbur will also receive all-expenses-paid trips to the 2019 Golf Industry Show, Feb. 2-7, in San Diego.

Selection criteria for this program includes academic excellence, work experience, extracurricular activities and potential to become a leading professional in the golf course management industry.

"GCSAA is greatly committed to our student members’ future careers in golf management," said GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. "We wish these students the best of luck as they pursue their educational endeavors."

Scholarship winners:

Mendenhall Award winner - $6,000
Marcus Lounello, Glendale, Colo.
University: The Pennsylvania State University

MacCurrach Award winner - $5,000
Amy Wilbur, Delmar, Md. 
University: The Ohio State University

Ambassador Award winner - $2,500
Nathan Wattier, France
University: The Pennsylvania State University

Scholars Award winners - $2,500
Aaron Cabanaw, Buckeye, Ariz. 
University: The Pennsylvania State University

Evan McFadden, Corvallis, Ore. 
University: Oregon State University

Scholars Award winners -$2,000
Aaron Butler, Ames, Iowa 
University: Iowa State University

Thomas Quisenberry, Okemos, Mich. 
University: Michigan State University

Michael Rabe, Haslett, Mich. 
University: Michigan State University

Scholars Award winners- $1,000
Matthew Becker, Savage, Minn. 
University: North Dakota State University

Levi Dreiling, Manhattan, Kan. 
University: Kansas State University

Raquel Schwartz, Mount Laurel, N.J. 
University: Rutgers University

Merit Award winners - $500
Alexander Hedlund, Redmond, Wash., 
College: Walla Walla Community College

Raul Neto, Brazil
University: The Pennsylvania State University

Austin Northern, Colorado Springs, Co.
University: Colorado State University

Alexander Panzenhagen, Waupaca, Wis.
University: The Pennsylvania State University

Kyle Schierlinger, Irvine, Calif.  
University: Michigan State University