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Landscape/Nursery Technology Student Competes at ‘Career Days’

Melissa D. Berrier holds her first-place Student Career Days Tech award outside Pennsylvania College of Technology's Schneebeli Earth Science Center.A senior landscape/nursery technology student at Pennsylvania College of Technology was among competitors at the recent Student Career Days near Atlanta, winning honors for participation in educational sessions at the three-day event.

Melissa D. Berrier, of Mifflin, competed in exterior landscape design, finishing 32nd out of 58 entrants, and woody plant identification, in which she placed 46th out of 103.

“Melissa (a Dean’s List student) only prepared about a week and a half prior to attending,” said Carl J. Bower, a horticulture faculty member in the college’s School of Natural Resources Management. “Many students she competed against in the design competition are four-year landscape architecture students, so I think those numbers speak volumes about her performance and about how tough the competition really is.”

Berrier, who traveled with The Pennsylvania State University team, brought home the first-place Student Career Days Tech award that goes to the squad whose members take part in the most workshops during the March 27-30 event.

Dan T. Stearns, head of the landscape contracting program at Penn State, met Berrier at February’s Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association conference in State College and invited her to join them on the bus and share their housing.

“Attending PLANET’s Student Career Days was a great experience!” she said. “I really enjoyed networking and competing with other members of the landscaping industry, and I would like to thank Penn State’s Horticulture Club for giving me this opportunity.”

Student Career Days, sponsored by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), was held at North Metro Technical College in Acworth, Ga., and boasted the highest number of teams in the event’s 32-year history. A total of 950 students from 65 college teams participated in 25 individual and group competitions, including tree-climbing, paver installation, wood construction, irrigation troubleshooting, and skid steer and equipment operation.

Berrier recently was awarded a scholarship from the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year students; president of the Horticulture Club at the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center; captain of the Wildcat softball team; a member of the Future Farmers of America; and a Student Ambassador at Penn College.

For more about the Student Career Days competition, to be held next year at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif., visit online .

For more information about the School of Natural Resources Management, visit on the Web or call (570) 320-8038. To learn more about Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call (800) 367-9222.

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