Location: Gettysburg, PA
Associate Degree: Penn College of Technology with major in Landscape/Horticulture Technology, Landscape Emphasis
Bachelor’s Degree: Pennsylvania State University with major in Landscape Contracting, Design/Build
Career: Landscape Designer, VanHorn Designs
About the farm:
I spent my teen years living on our family farm on the Gettysburg Battlefield, which used to be known as the Rummel Farm. We continue to farm wheat, hay, corn, and soybeans there.
Why did you choose Penn College?
Penn College offered a hands-on, experience-based education all in a two-year program. At first, I wasn’t sure about committing to four years to school, but what I learned at Penn College was a strong foundation to have as I decided to continue on to Penn State. Penn State has one of the best landscape contracting programs, and my professors encouraged me to network, think outside the box, and be detailed with my work. I have found that the landscape contracting degree is very valuable to employers within the green industry.
How are you using what you learned in college today?
I just accepted an offer to work for VanHorn designs in Raleigh, N.C. I have been working on 3D design work on the side while at school. With VanHorn Designs, I will be creating base maps, plan sets, 3D designs, and consulting on projects with clients.
Advice for students thinking about college:
There is no shame at all in going to a tech school. If anything, you’re ahead of your peers in hands-on experience when entering the workforce or if you choose to continue later to a four-year school. If you’re unsure at first about continuing your education like I originally was, try a certificate program or go for your associate’s degree first.
Also, don’t wait for networking opportunities to come to you. Reach out on your own for advice and internships. Show that you’re proactive and always follow up visits or conversations with an email or text. It can go a long way.
What were some of your best college experiences?
I loved participating in Horticulture Club at both Penn College and Penn State. One of my greatest experiences would be participating at National Collegiate Landscape Competitions where teams from universities and colleges compete against each other in horticulture and landscape-related events.
In addition, my interest in cycling led me to race with the Penn State Mountain Bike Team, where I met many friends that I still bike with regularly. Believe it or not, I have been able to network with industry professionals through racing events or social bike gatherings that have led to job interviews.
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