Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#MyFerrum Experience in Academics

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

With the onset of the #MyFerrum campaign, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to write some of my upcoming blogs on different facets of #MyFerrum experience!

In my freshman year, fall of 2012, I began my horticultural path by being enrolled in BIO-202, Introduction to Plant Science.  I sat directly up front and remember the first day being the only freshman in the class.  Because I had taken AP Biology in high school, the credits transferred and I was able to take the 200-level class during my first semester at Ferrum.  I also took AGS-110 Issues in Agriculture that first semester, which really broadened my horizons on how much further agriculture reached than just my realm of greenhouses and floristry.

The next semester, spring of 2013, I enrolled in HOR-321 Plant Propagation, which was taught by my advisor, Dr. Pohlad.  I had the amazing luxury of being just one of six in that class, which let me begin to develop a relationship with my advisor and with Ferrum's agricultural program that couldn't be matched anywhere else.  We did projects such as help run the Plant Sale that occurs every spring, and even fill the planters and design the flowers of Dr. Braaten's home.  We went on field trips to Virginia Tech to view their tissue culture lab, and we traveled to Riverbend Nursery to get a tour and first-hand look on how a commercially larger-scale operation is run.  That same semester, I started my green roof practicum and took both half-semester horticulturally-derived topics in science classes:  SCI-124 Edible Wild Plants and SCI-130 Healthy House Plants.  This was also the semester that I traveled abroad to Peru for my E-Term, and the Honor's Program enriched the class by producing a field guide for the orchids of the Inca Trail!

The following fall of 2013, I took HOR-410 Greenhouse Management also with Dr. Pohlad, which was my first 400-level class in my field.  This had more of an impact than I expected, which was very fortunate for me.  Back when I toured Ferrum College before I was a student, my admissions counselor brought us through the Academic Resource Center and talked about the Peer Assisted Learning Program, where students can be tutors to help fellow students learn and understand specific classes better.  I remember her explaining that and how I could not wait to eventually one day be a PAL tutor in a horticulture class!  Well, three semesters later, I was asked if I wanted to help out and tutor BIO-202 since I was proficient in my knowledge and already taking my major classes in my sophomore year.  I obviously said "yes"!
My design for the Adam's Lake Riparian garden

Since then, I have taken HOR-418 Plant Pest Management, which let me become legally licensed in pesticide application, and HOR-411 Landscape Design and Management, which presented me the opportunity produce and present a design for our Titmus Agricultural Center entrance and the Adam's Lake Riparian garden.  My proposal was actually chosen and reproduced for the Adam's Lake Riparian garden restoration project!  The semester after those two classes - in the fall of 2014 - I took HOR-415 Plant Disease, AGY-315 Soil Science and Management, and AGS-417 Agricultural Business Management.  While still continuing to tutor the BIO-202 class, I also did another practicum where I was additionally a Lab Assistant for the class.  This gave me valuable experience first-hand on how to work in a lab as a facilitator while also providing me the opportunity to hone my skills in teaching and explanation.

My Riparian garden design being implemented!

Currently, I am enrolled in BIO-419 Plant Physiology and Biotechnology, which I am loving, and I am I beginning to undertake a project studying tissue culture and phytohormone application.  This project, tied in with my junior seminar paper, is helping me and teaching me how to properly go about producing and conducting graduate-level work.  This semester, I also began tutoring HOR-321 Plant Propagation, which I took just year before, so I have a feeling of accomplishment that really helps me get up in the morning.  I have this all thanks to #MyFerrum experience!

With only AGS-314 Animal/Plant Breeding & Genetics left to complete my major's required classes and BIO-306 Nonvascular Plants & Fungi left to take as an elective to complete the requirements to be invited into the National Biology Society, I know that my time left here at Ferrum is coming to a close.  But a year is still a lot of time to continue to make my mark on this campus because:  This is #MyFerrum. 

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