Two Pennsylvania College of Technology horticulture students were among national Top 10 finishers in their respective categories during the recent Professional Landscape Network’s Student Career Days competition in Fort Collins, Colo.
Nicholas D. Foreman, of Rockwood, placed first in a field of 76 students in the Construction Cost Estimation contest, and Emily M. Schmidt, of Muncy, was eighth out of 53 in Leadership Skills. They were among eight Penn College landscape/horticulture technology students who traveled to the 38th annual event, held March 20-23 at Colorado State University.
Horticulture instructor Carl J. Bower Jr. and alumnus Ronald A. Burger accompanied the group to the “The Olympics of Landscaping,” where students competed in events and attended workshops directly related to the skills they’ll need to succeed in the industry.
“Being able to see the students come alive on these trips is very exciting,” Bower said. “The spirit of competition, the networking with industry and other students makes you realize what all the green industry has to offer: exciting careers, with tangible results and passionate people.”
“Traveling with Ron, in the role of a mentor to the students, is a pleasure,” he added. “The students really appreciate what experience and knowledge he has, and that he is so willing to share that knowledge.”
This was the third consecutive year for Burger, a 1978 graduate of predecessor institution Williamsport Area Community College and a co-owner of George Burger & Sons Inc. Garden Center in Luzerne County.
His support of Penn College students was honored during a commencement ceremony last summer, when he received an alumni Mentorship Award.
The college was represented in 16 of 28 contests and finished 38th among 65 participating teams from colleges and universities that offer horticulture programs. Out of 743 students to compete overall, Foreman placed eighth and Tyler J. Fatzinger, of Catasaqua, was 42nd.
“My SCD experience is unforgettable, from the professional relationships gained through the career fair, to the friendships nationwide that began or were renewed from prior experiences with PLANET,” said Foreman, who also attended last year’s competition at Auburn University. “We traveled far, we learned, we laughed, and we will never forget the friends and memories from our three short days in Colorado.”
The group stopped at the Denver Botanic Gardens as part of their trip.
Other competitors from Penn College were Catherine L. Bockheim, of Wellsboro; Cody J. Clauss, of Telford; Jonathan L. Rishel, of Milton; Rachael E. Stafford, of Bernville (who also participated in 2013); and Mikhala J. Umstead, of Williamsport.
Rishel, Schmidt and Umstead are enrolled in landscape/horticulture technology: plant production emphasis. The others major in landscape/horticulture technology: landscape emphasis.
“The whole event was filled with unique learning experiences and great networking opportunities,” added Schmidt, who attended Student Career Days for the first time. “I’m so glad I got to go and can’t wait until next year.”
For more about landscape/horticulture technology majors offered in the School of Transportation and Natural Resources Technologies, call 570-327-4516.