Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Introduction: The Orange-Loving, Yankee Horticulturist from Richmond

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

Going to Ferrum, and especially just being in the South for the past four years has been challenging for one reason: I’m a Yankee, born and bred. I was born in Bronxville, New York, and I lived in Yonkers until I was seven. Over the next seven years, I moved to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and then Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, until four years ago, we finally settled our roots in Richmond, Virginia. They say Virginia is for Lovers, but does that mean everyone loves Virginia? I didn’t at first. I was stuck in my way of not knowing that barbeque isn’t grilled chicken, and that camouflage doesn’t match everything, and I was especially adamant on going to college at Penn State. Over the four years, Virginia grew on me thanks to my friends through high school, my family along the way, and the fact that we did get a lot of snow each winter sure helped me adjust. I am now proud to call Richmond my home, even though sometimes I will be asked, “Where are you from?” and I will have to choke back a response of "New York.” Along with the transition, I am so happy I ended up at Ferrum and not another college because there is nowhere else I would rather be.

The other day, after hearing me talk about my four-year plan through college, one of my friends looked at me and yelled, “Well you are like the 1% who has actually known what they want to do since they were born!” Truthfully, I can’t argue with that statement either, except maybe not since birth, but by the age of seven. When I was seven, I claimed I wanted to be a Field Biologist and study at Guilford College. I proceeded to create a whole packet explaining what Field Biology was and how I could use my future skills. As a grew up, I still possessed the same interests, but around the age of twelve, I believe I started turning away from the animal side of the job and more toward the plant aspect. I went through a couple different names for the field I had chosen after that until I was fourteen the summer before freshman year of high school when I decided on horticulture. 

From then on, I tried to get as much experience in the field as I could. I became a member of both the Richmond Bonsai Society and the Virginia Orchid Society, took classes to become a Certified Horticulturist through the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, and even took advantage of the only agricultural program available in Henrico County. During my senior year, I was President of my Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter through my Greenhouse Management program in the Technical Center, and because I am nationally certified in Landscaping, Floriculture, and Greenhouse Management, I also have a diploma in Greenhouse Management as well. Through the program last year, thanks to my wonderful teacher, I realized that I wanted to teach as well, which led me to minor in Teacher Education so I can get my certification. In the long run, I plan on going to graduate school, getting a doctorate and becoming a Professor of Horticulture at a prominent college, and teaching the information I love to students who share that passion.

Finally, I will throw out some facts about myself. My favorite color is orange, which no doubt is number one. If you see a guy with orange shoes or jacket or glasses or hat or… well anything neon orange, then it is probably me. I am super open, outgoing, and love to have a great time. Come say hi to me or give me a high-five; whether I know you or not, I would do the same thing to a complete stranger as well! Lastly, if you are ever at a Ferrum football game, you better dance with the Panther because the mascot is the symbol of Ferrum school spirit!

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