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Penn College Students Vie at National Horticulture Competition


Four Pennsylvania College of Technology horticulture students were among the top finishers in their five respective categories during the 42nd annual National Collegiate Landscape Competition held recently in Graham, North Carolina.

Michael S. Shreiner, of Wayne, placed eighth out of 51 competitors in Skid Steer Loader Operation; Aaron A. Sledge Jr., of Pittsburgh, finished ninth among 76 participants in Interior Plant Identification and 12th of 76 in Flower and Foliage Identification; Shreiner and Jacob R. Courtley, of Ardara, were 10th among 32 teams in Arboriculture Techniques; and Griffin T. Fulton, of Mertztown, was 14th of 47 in Exterior Landscape Design.

The students were among nine Penn College landscape/horticulture technology majors that journeyed to the event, co-sponsored by the National Association of Landscape Professionals and held March 14-17 at Alamance Community College.

Representing Penn College in a recent national landscape competition are (from left) Trevor C. Gagliano, Hughesville; Jacob R. Courtley, Ardara; Griffin T. Fulton, Mertztown; Bryce P. Thompson, Enola; Michael S. Shreiner, Wayne; Timothy J. Dunker, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.; Adriana S. Lee, Williamsport; Aaron A. Sledge Jr., Pittsburgh; faculty member Carl J. Bower Jr.; Kyle J. Schatz, St. Marys; and alumnus Ronald A. Burger.
Representing Penn College in a recent national landscape competition are (from left) Trevor C. Gagliano, Hughesville; Jacob R. Courtley, Ardara; Griffin T. Fulton, Mertztown; Bryce P. Thompson, Enola; Michael S. Shreiner, Wayne; Timothy J. Dunker, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.; Adriana S. Lee, Williamsport; Aaron A. Sledge Jr., Pittsburgh; faculty member Carl J. Bower Jr.; Kyle J. Schatz, St. Marys; and alumnus Ronald A. Burger.

The others were Timothy J. Dunker, of Ho Ho Kus, New Jersey; Trevor C. Gagliano, of Hughesville; Adriana S. Lee, of Williamsport; Kyle J. Schatz, of Saint Marys; and Bryce P. Thompson, of Enola. All except Lee are enrolled in landscape/horticulture technology: landscape emphasis; she is in the major’s plant production emphasis.

“The most inspiring event in my educational career so far, filled with the energy of hundreds of dedicated people in the industry looking to motivate and educate,” Lee said. “Competitive events have never been so fun and passionate until now.”

Carl J. Bower Jr., assistant professor of horticulture, and industry supporter Ronald A. Burger – a 1978 graduate of predecessor institution Williamsport Area Community College who won an Alumni Mentorship Award in 2013 – traveled with the group.

“The students once again showed that they can compete on a national level. All of these students were first-time competitors, and to compete and place against students that have attended for several years prior, is quite an accomplishment,” Bower said.

Group members also attended workshops on several landscape/horticulture-related topics, from arboriculture and plant pests to design and environmental sustainability.

“To be able to learn from leaders in the green industry from across the nation is a tremendous opportunity,” Bower said, “and I know the students leave the competition with a greater understanding of what our industry has to offer, which is limitless.”

Penn College finished 41st among 62 participating teams from institutions that offer two- and/or four-year horticulture programs. Brigham Young University-Provo was the overall champion. Schatz was the highest-ranking Penn College student at the competition, finishing 139th out of 775 students.

For more about landscape/horticulture technology majors offered in the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, call 570-327-4516.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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