Internship Created in 1918 Alumnus' Memory Helps Today's Horticulture Students
Joey White interned at the Hahn Garden in summer 2009
Joey White intends to plant roots in Florida after graduating from Virginia Tech in December 2010 with a bachelor’s in horticulture.
He'd like to supervise landscaping teams for a living. Because of a donor's generosity, White already has a full summer's work experience at the university's Hahn Horticulture Garden to include on his résumé.
"I thought working out in the garden I would get a feel for the industry," White says. "It was very useful, because I did almost every aspect of horticulture."
White is one of the more than three-dozen students to intern at the garden in the past two decades under a program supported by the M. Evans Gardner Memorial Fund, an endowment set up by Monroe E. Gardner Jr. in honor of his father, a member of the class of 1918.
Money from that fund, along with donations from people in the Friends of the Garden membership program, cover wages for two interns, one full-time, one part-time, each year, says Associate Professor of Horticulture Holly Scoggins, who oversees the garden. Along with getting work experience, interns go on field trips to other public gardens, she adds.
At the Hahn Garden, interns perform a wide range of tasks -- not only working with plants, but leading tours and working with the public, so they are able to develop multiple skills that will serve them in the horticulture industry, Scoggins says.
"We have a tremendous plant collection so they're getting good experience working with everything from tropical plants to shade trees," she says.
And the interns, she adds, are "intimately involved in whatever project is going on here, including hardscaping: using pavers, stone, or wood to build patios, bridges or paths."
White says laying irrigation pipe for the garden's meadow section was one of the more elaborate projects he worked on during his internship.
He says he also enjoyed being part of the team that maintains the garden, and says that down the road, when he's overseeing a landscaping team of his own, "I’ll have that experience to base it off of."