Students from Pennsylvania College of Technology were among the Top 10 finishers in their respective categories during the recent Professional Landscape Network’s Student Career Days competition in Alabama.
Horticulture instructor Carl J. Bower Jr. and alumnus Ronald Burger accompanied the group to the 37th annual Career Days, held March 7-10 at Auburn University. In addition to meeting prospective employers, the students competed in events directly related to the skills necessary for a “green” profession.
“Student Career Days are a wonderful place for a young person to learn what the industry is all about,” said Bower, a Penn College graduate and a faculty member since 2001. “So many career opportunities, as well as teamwork, professionalism and a desire to learn more about horticulture, are just a few things that came out of the week. The excitement and energy shown not only by our students, but by the 800 students that attend, are enough to get anyone motivated by what is possible in their careers.”
Penn College students, all enrolled in the landscape/horticulture technology program at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center south of Williamsport, placed in the Top 10 in five of the 22 events in which they competed: Jeremy L. Thorne, of Sugarloaf, finished third of 45 competitors in Tractor Loader Backhoe Operation; Jonathan T. Hall, of Tamaqua, was fifth among 45 vying in Sales Presentation; Thorne and Corey E. Winter, of Watsontown, finished seventh of 49 in the Irrigation Assembly team event; Thorne and Samuel W. Hanmer, of Harrisburg, claimed seventh place among 59 teams in Truck and Trailer Operation; and Winter was eighth of 58 in Skid Steer Operation.
“PLANET Student Career Days presented opportunities toward the furthering of my education and career in extremely positive ways,” Hall said. “It also allowed for the deepening of friendships with my classmates as we worked shoulder to shoulder and the creation of new friendships with students at other schools as we competed against each other. This was a time of great laughs, hard work and delicious food that I will not soon forget.”
Overall, the college finished 28th among 63 participating teams.
Other Penn College competitors were Rachael E. Stafford, of Bernville; Chad D. Flood, of Fayetteville; Nicholas D. Foreman, of Rockwood; Jackson J. Albert, of Liverpool; Zachary A. Mueller, of East Earl; Christina M. Snyder, of Lebanon; Jessica L. Slawter, of Quakertown; and Kaila A. Sewald, of Williamsport. Mueller, Snyder and Sewald are enrolled in landscape/horticulture technology: plant production emphasis. The others major in landscape/horticulture technology: landscape emphasis.
“Being a part of this team was exhilarating and exhausting, and left me feeling like I am on Cloud Nine,” said Burger, a mentor who earned his degree at Williamsport Area Community College, the institution’s immediate predecessor. “The Penn College students can be proud of their accomplishments and team spirit. I witnessed students pushing themselves and each other to new heights, as well as receiving respect from the industry. This team is made of true leaders!”
More details of Student Career Days, a three-day competition among students enrolled in horticulture programs at colleges and universities across the country, are available online.
For more about landscape/horticulture technology and other “degrees that work” offered in the School of Natural Resources Management, call 570-320-8038.
Photos provided by the School of Natural Resources Management