In the Horticulture program there are various opportunities to meet companies, and discuss with them on a one-on-one level about their company and your own goals in life. Often enough your own goals in life match up with the company and you’re able to create a relationship that can turn into a career. Networking is what is encouraged, getting out of your comfort zone, and putting yourself out there to make those relationships. Some people struggle with not knowing what to ask. Here are a few examples of questions you can ask:
What services/products do you offer?
How do you stay up to date on current trends in the industry?
What classes do you recommend to make myself more desirable?
What advice do you have for me as a young college student?
These questions are good starters; the most important thing is to act natural and let the conversation flow. Nearing the end ALWAYS ask for a business card or contact information. That way later you can thank them for their time and keep that relationship growing. This week there is a career fair being held in the BYU-I Center, February 27, 2014 from 10am-3pm. Go and practice approaching these companies and Grad schools. Kimberly Nurseries will be there looking for a Designer. They are located in Kimberly, ID near Twin Falls, Idaho and have been operating since 1907! They service the surrounding areas with their design, hardscape, irrigation, and maintenance skills. They have on their website a beautiful gallery of the wonderful work they have done, check it out here.
If you didn't get a chance to go you missed out on a great evening. We had a record breaking attendance and everyone was smiling and laughing the whole time. Here is a list of the students who received outstanding student awards:
Amy Openshaw Horticulture-Production
James Oberhansley Horticulture-Design Build
Ali Strate Horticulture-Design Build
Trevor Stevens Horticulture-Design Build
Zane Walker Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science
Henry McBroom Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science
Jared Spackman Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science
Kyle Merrill Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science
Jarom Davidson Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science
Jayci Anderson Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science
Valerie Schulthess graduated over a year ago. Since then She has found herself working as a secretary to Dr. Fred Petitt and Agricultural Sciences at the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Valerie talked about life after graduation and offers a few good tips on job searching.
Where do you work?
I work in Orlando, FL at the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in the Animals, Science and Environment line of business as a secretary for Agricultural Sciences and Dr. Fred Petitt.
How many jobs did you apply to?
Around five. A really important point is that almost all of them were internal. The jobs didn’t even exist, so these weren’t just postings I found online. They wanted to interview me for a need that they saw in their company for HR/PR related work because they knew who I was beforehand and that I was interested in that area of horticulture.
How did you decide which job to pursue and accept?
When applying for jobs, I didn’t limit myself. If I was remotely interested, I pursued it since it’s better to have more options than none. As I mentioned earlier, most of the jobs I applied for were only available to me and maybe a few others because of the relationships I’d established with company representatives during Horticulture field trips (Spring Trials, PLANET and industry trips to southern California and Washington).
The job I decided to accept was in the same department that I did one of my internships in. I’ll be honest: it wasn’t my very first choice. All my other options fell through not because the companies didn’t want me, but rather because someone decided they didn’t want to retire, the company wasn’t ready at the time I wanted a job, etc. Now that I look back on my decision, which was made a lot by prayer and faith, it fits. Had I only applied to the top few jobs I was interested in, I would have been jobless.
What are your normal daily tasks?
I assist with the daily operations for the Agricultural Sciences team and Fred who oversees Agricultural Sciences, Water Sciences, and The Seas Animal Care & Research. Some of my duties include internship recruiting and processing applications, managing the department’s budget and purchasing needs, processing many different types of HR related requests for all three departments, etc.
What is it about the environment/job that you love?
I love taking care of people, and I am constantly doing that in my role. It’s kind of a full-circle moment as I now have the opportunity to give back to the people that provided me with such a great internship during my college years.
Although I am in a secretary role, I’m encouraged to branch out and am given many opportunities to expand my horizons and become involved in parts of the industry that I’m interested in. My background allows me to be not just a secretary. I can do so much more with my background and am grateful to a boss and department that support me in what I choose to pursue.
What advice do you have for students getting close to graduation?
NETWORK. You should be doing this early on in your schooling. Go on every single horticulture trip you can, and don’t be that person that stands in the back and doesn’t ask questions. Make relationships with the representatives of the company, and that includes correspondence after you meet them. One of the best ways to establish a relationship is to ask for career advice and have them talk about their job instead of begging for a job after graduating.
Some students feel insecure about using the information they have learned, do you have any advice about overcoming that fear and how they can apply that to practical skills?
The more you practice it, the more confident you’ll be. Do internships, get out of dodge, and if you can’t get out of dodge, get a job with Horticulture at school. Also talking to other fellow graduates and/or other people involved in the industry can set your mind at ease as you learn what it was like for them when they started their careers.
Hidden Garden Floral Design has been focused on customer service and teamwork for the past 15 years. Owner Amy Marella founded her company in 1999 on a dream to make people happy with flowers. Hidden Garden is located in Los Angeles, CA and services a wide range of clients. From hotels to weddings, and baby showers to home décor pieces, Hidden Garden does it all. Some of Amy's commercial clients are Hotel Bel-Air, Luxe Hotel on Rodeo Dr., Dreamworks Animation, Tiffany & Co., and even the NFL. She has worked hard to get these clients and maintain them. She does this by focusing on the details. Amy knows what flowers her clients like, their favorite colors, the occasions for the arrangements, and how to place them. We have had 4 interns at Hidden Gardens and currently have one graduate working as a designer.Her attention to detail and her design skills make her company an extraordinarily friendly and reliable business. No matter who you are, when you order flowers from Hidden Gardens you gain a friendship in the process.
If you would like to see Amy and her team in action check out some of her videos here.
Last week, students from the Nursery Management class traveled to Boise, ID to attend the Idaho Nursery and Landscape Association (INLA) Horticulture Expo. The first full day was filled with seminars. There were many to choose from, with four to five different ones happening every hour. Some of the seminars included Plant Problem Diagnostics, New and Under-Used Plants, Do Your Plants Have a Drinking Problem?, A Tale of Two Fields – Synthetic vs. Natural, and Pesticides and Biological Controls: Can They Be Used Together. On the second day, students ate a catered lunch with INLA members which included owners of businesses all over the state, including Franz Witte of Franz Witte Landscapes, and Dana Moss of Moss Greenhouses. Afterwards, students were able to tour the expo and talk to over 100 different companies in our industry that sell to or are based out of Idaho. It was a great opportunity to network with so many different companies from landscape, construction, nurseries, and more. After the expo closed for the day, students stayed to network more and play games at the convention center with other attendees at the show. The final day was similar, filled with different seminars and making more connections with companies. One of our students even had an interview while we were at the expo this year. If you get the chance to go to a trade show, take it. You never know who you will meet there and where it will take you.
Our aim for the Department of Horticulture at Brigham Young University-Idaho is to nurture understanding of both the art and science of Horticulture. Students learn experimentally in the classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, and ten acre Thomas E. Ricks demonstration garden as they pursue an Associates or Bachelors Degree. Using the medium of plants, students develop habits of hard work, enlightened minds, and healthy living that assist in gainful employment opportunitues.