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Class of 2017 Celebrates Change

They are hired. They are highly desired by employers. Employers come here seeking these students.”

By: Glori D. Hyman

that other graduates experienced through the IAA are still significant. Ruby Fishbein “The IAA literally changed my life,” Joyce and Joanna Bell became the first Agriculture Drake told her fellow graduates as she spoke Forward students to earn their certificates in from the heart at this year’s pre-graduation Applied Agriculture, and next year they will celebration on May 20, at the College Park earn their bachelor’s degrees. Ag Forward Marriott. Drake, one of three student is an accelerated program that enables speakers and one of 16 IAA graduates, students to work on their certificate and transformed from Baltimore City social bachelor’s degree simultaneously. Other worker to urban IAA graduates agriculturalist and opted to complete entrepreneur. their certificates “When these students first, and then leave here, they have jobs... Drake is not work on their Employers come here seeking the only career bachelor’s degree. these students.” changer to graduate this year. This year’s —AGNR Dean Beyrouty Meg Smolinski graduates successfully exemplified transitioned from the art world at the all the opportunities offered at the IAA. Smithsonian Institutes in Washington, Of the 16 graduates, 7 are continuing DC, to Volunteer Coordinator for UMD their education—5 at UMD and 2 at Arboretum and Botanical Gardens where other institutions; the other 9 graduates she is applying her horticultural knowledge already have jobs in their fields. College of and skills every day. Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Craig Beyrouty told the audience, “When Although not as dramatic, the transitions these students leave here, they have jobs.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni, Byron Kline (pictured, top right) extolled the IAA for its excellence and for the willingness of its faculty to help alumni throughout their careers long after graduation. The IAA is proud of this year’s graduates. (see page 3)


In this Issue: From the Director


Graduation, cont.


Student Files

4-5 Farewell to Kevin Math ias 6-7 Alumni News & Notes 8-9 Around the ‘Tute



Passion: Find it, Don’t Follow it.

ost of us have heard the career advice to follow your passion. This idea may stem from Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford University when he said, “You’ve got to find what you love.” A few sentences later he followed up with “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” His words glorified the notion of following a passion, and now we have a generation of people entering college and the workforce believing they must “follow their passion” in order to be successful and happy. Well, I’m not an advocate of following your passion. I think it’s ill advised or at the very least misguided. And here’s why I think this way. Passion is an intense emotion, and many of us do not have a strong, compelling enthusiasm that will lead us through our education and career. I see this frequently when parents bring their high schoolers to visit campus. Many of these students know they like to spend time outdoors, work with animals, or grow plants, but they wouldn’t describe it as a passion. Asking them to identify, then follow their passion befuddles them, and they respond with blank stares. When they can’t immediately identify a passion, it’s as if they have failed before they ever begin. I admit to having made this mistake. A student was having trouble deciding which educational and career path to pursue, so I asked him “What is it that you really like to do?” After some serious thought, he responded honestly: “Sleep.” Which brings me to my second point. By advising people to follow their passion, we are assuming they can make a living by doing it. But that may not be the case. Trying to make a living by blindly following your passion could lead to severe financial challenges, especially if you have a passion for sleeping.

Third, I believe telling people to follow their passion sets them up for disappointment. It gives them the expectation that their jobs will be all fun and games, and filled only with things they love to do. When they discover that they don’t love all of the required aspects of their jobs, they become disillusioned with their job and career choice. So our advice should not be to follow your passion, but to find your passion. Our own Good Doctor Kevin Mathias is a perfect example. The Good Doctor retired from the IAA in June after 38 years, and if you read the story on page 6, you’ll note that he did not intend to stay at the IAA when he started in 1979. He was not following a passion to teach, but rather he discovered a passion for teaching and helping students. And what an incredible passion it turned out to be, as evidenced by the 130 alumni who attended his retirement celebration. They flew in from California, Florida, and Georgia to thank the Good Doctor. It was amazing to see how many lives and careers Kevin has touched through the years. If he had followed his passion all those years ago, Kevin probably would have tried to become an NBA player. Fortunately for us and 4 decades worth of students, he found his passion at the IAA. If we look again at Steve Jobs’ words, he clearly says “You’ve got to find what you love,” not follow what you love. So, to our recent IAA graduates whom you will meet on page 3, I say use the skills you gained at the IAA to launch your careers and find meaningful work. I hope you become passionate about the work that you do and the careers that you pursue. And, to our Good Doctor Mathias, may you find a new passion in retirement. Cheers to all! Glori D. Hyman

Give to the J. Kevin Mathias Scholarship Fund Dr. Kevin Mathias worked tirelessly throughout his career to raise money for students, so that they could attend conferences and competitions, and fund their education. In honor of Kevin’s dedication, we have started the J. Kevin Mathias Scholarship. We currently have $5,150 in donations and need to raise $25,000 to endow the scholarship, so the Good Doctor’s legacy will continue indefinitely. If each student who ever took a class with Kevin contributes just $25 to the scholarship fund, we will easily reach our goal.

Make a difference. Donate today. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND / FEARLESS IDEAS

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Lillian Kahl Maui, HI Sustainable Agriculture Activities & Awards: Apprenticeship at Terp Farm, AGNR Alumni Award for Outstanding Student in a two-year program. Plans: Farming apprenticeship at UMD’s Terp Farm in Upper Marlboro, MD.

New grads Ben Prigg, Cory Schuch, Maggie Popp, Tad Dinan, and Andrew Small. Joanna Bell Beltsville, MD Sustainable Agriculture Plans: Earn my B.S. in Animal Science.

Maggie Popp Kingsville, MD Agricultural Business Management Plans: Transfer to Towson University to major in Environmental Science. Ben Prigg Baltimore, MD Sustainable Agriculture Plans: Study Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Colby Dean Centreville, MD Agricultural Business Management Plans: Work full-time at High Point Hanoverians in Chestertown, MD.

Becky Remsberg Fallston, MD Agricultural Business Management Activities & Awards: Maryland Equestrian Club, Maryland Shakespeare Players Plans: Earn a B.S. in Agricultural Science and Technology at UMD.

Tad Dinan Arnold, MD Golf Course Management Plans: 2nd Assistant Superintendent at Overbrook Golf Club. Joi Drake Baltimore, MD Sustainable Agriculture Activities & Awards: Cecil Massie and Bowman Scholarships; Academy of Academic Excellence Award Plans: Start a non-profit to reconnect Baltimore seniors with their communities through urban gardening, farming, and art. Ruby Fishbein Columbia, MD Sustainable Agriculture Plans: Earn my B.S. in Animal Science.

Evan Richter Severna Park, MD Golf Course Management Activities & Awards: GCSAA Eastern Shore Scholarship Plans: Work full-time for ProGrass Lutherville-Timonium, MD.

Andrew Small Forest Hill, MD Sports Turf Management Activities & Awards: STMA Student Challenge, Turf Bowl Plans: Earn a full-time position as a Sports Turf Manager for a sports team or school. Meg Smolinski St. Paul, MN Ornamental Horticulture Activities & Awards: Student co-chair of IAA 50th Anniversary Gala, TESCO scholarships, PGMS DC Chapter scholarships, MNLGA scholarship, PGMS Nationwide scholarship, A.F. Vierheller Award, MAEF scholarship Plans: Continue working for the UMD Arboretum & Botanical Garden. James Thomas Fallston, MD Agricultural Business Management Activities & Awards: Alpha Gamma Rho, Vice-President of Collegiate Farm Bureau at Maryland, Baltimore County Farm Bureau, Maryland State Fair, Maryland 4-H Foundation, Tom Hartsock Animal Management scholarship, Seibel and MAEF scholarships, J.B. Jennings Senatorial Scholarship, scholarships from Delegates McDonough, Impallaria, and Szeliga Plans: Earn a B.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics at UMD.

Cory Schuch Fallston, MD Agricultural Business Management Activities & Awards: Alpha Gamma Rho Plans: Manage and expand my family’s produce farm.

INAG News is published twice a year by the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA). You are encouraged to share comments, alumni updates, and ag-related news by emailing Follow us on social media:

Justin Hipp Ellicott City, MD Sustainable Agriculture Activities & Awards: Alpha Gamma Rho Plans: Moving to a Texas ranch to manage the vegetable production. Scott Hosier Horsham, PA Golf Course Management Plans: Assistant Superintendent at Philadelphia Cricket Club.


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IAA Director: Glori Hyman Meg Smolinski and Joi Drake.

Graphic Designer: Randie Hovatter


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- Student Files Tea-rific Student Entrepreneurs

Terrapin Tea-m members Eric Michol and Nicolas Tardif pose with the product at the AgI2C Undergraduate Ideation Competition. Not pictured: Becky Jones.


griculture students typically don’t think of themselves as innovators or entrepreneurs, but a group of IAA freshmen and a new College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) initiative are changing that perception. Following UMD President Wallace Loh’s lead to “expose every student in every field to education and hands-on experience in innovation and entrepreneurship,” the IAA is infusing entrepreneurship into its curriculum. During their first semester, IAA students take Agricultural Entrepreneurship, a course that introduces them to start-up models and concepts related to launching profitable agricultural businesses. “The course simulates what agricultural entrepreneurship looks like in the real world, including idea generating, feasibility studies, new venture financing and assembling an entrepreneurial team,” says the course instructor Larisa Cioaca. “The course culminates with student teams making Shark Tank-type pitches for their new products or services.” One team of IAA students took their classroom pitch to the next level. Nicolas Tardif, Becky Jones, and Eric Michol are growing Terrapin Tea, a calming, organic herbal tea, on the UMD campus. Led by Tardif, an Ornamental Horticulture major, the team pitched its business venture at the first-ever AgI2C Undergraduate Ideation Competition

in April. AgI2C (Agriculture Innovation to Commercialization) is the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ initiative to strengthen innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization across the agricultural ecosystem in Maryland. According to AGNR Dean Craig Beyrouty, “One of the entry points into incorporating a more robust and organizational approach to innovation and entrepreneurship is through our educational enterprise, by teaching our students the processes, pitfalls, and benefits of taking an idea from the abstract to the marketplace.” Cioaca agrees. “Our students certainly benefited from the process and the pitch experience. Although they did not win the ideation competition, our students are moving forward with the Terrapin Tea project. They are currently growing herbs at the UMD Community Learning Garden, and plan to have bags of Terrapin Tea ready to sell during the fall semester.” “Ideas are only ideas,” says Beyrouty, “until you take them to market and commercialize them.” IAA students are learning that agriculture is ripe for entrepreneurial initiative, and that they are uniquely qualified to join the campus movement to solve real-world problems fearlessly.

Spring 2017 Scholarship Winners

Pictured clockwise: Kossi Bassinan, Robert Blake, Robert Jeffrey, and Frank Bohne. The following exceptional students were awarded scholarships through the IAA for the Spring 2017 semester: Cecil Massie Scholarship Kossi Bassinan Sustainable Agriculture Gaithersburg, MD TESCO Scholarship Robert Blake Turfgrass Management Washington, DC IAA Enhancement Scholarship Frank Bohne Sustainable Agriculture La Plata, MD Shields Memorial Scholarship Robert Jeffrey Golf Course Management Waldorf, MD Congratulations, winners! All applications are reviewed by the IAA scholarship committee on a variety of criteria, including major, cumulative IAA grade point average, financial need, extracurricular involvement and professional activities. Learn more about IAA scholarships by visiting


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- Student Files IAA Super Student: Lillian Kahl By: Glori D. Hyman


illian “Lilli” Kahl may not be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound; yet the IAA student is likened to Superwoman by her classmates and instructors. “Nothing scares her,” says Kahl’s advisor Meredith Epstein. “She climbs trees, wields chainsaws, operates tractors, drives snowplows, and welds like a pro.” But those are not the reasons Kahl was named this year’s Outstanding Two-Year Student by the AGNR Alumni Association. With a 3.97 GPA, Kahl also happens to be one of the IAA’s top performing students. During her time as a Terp, this Sustainable Agriculture student has excelled in the classroom, provided service and leadership to the campus, and implemented a cut flower enterprise at the University’s Terp Farm. According to Kahl, she entered the IAA with a love for the environment and a desire “to be a positive aspect of our community

and Earth.” And she meant it. During her first semester at the IAA, she increased the UMD Campus Pantry’s food supply by thousands of canned goods. As the recipient of a $4,000 grant, Kahl procured canned goods which she used as building material to “can-struct” a Testudo sculpture. The sculpture served to bring awareness to the Campus Pantry, which provides emergency food to members of the campus community who are in need. Kahl’s initial interest in growing specialty crops led her to the Community Learning Garden, where she planted tomatoes, peppers, basil, zinnias, and cosmos. Then, she landed an internship at Terp Farm, where cut flowers won her heart. Kahl took charge of Terp Farm’s cut flower production during her internship, but felt that one summer was simply not enough time. She continued to work at the farm for academic credit during the fall semester so she could expand the cut flower production for on-campus sales at the Farmers Market at Maryland. She developed an extensive project proposal that included survey results

and a marketing plan, in addition to a crop plan. This spring, Kahl completed the IAA’s Cooperative Education program at the Terp Farm and implemented the new cut-flower CSA. As a high school student in Hawaii, Kahl may not have envisioned herself as an entrepreneur in Maryland, but that is now her goal.

UMD Collegiate Farm Bureau Visits Annapolis

UMD group at Delegate Kittleman’s legislative office. By: Ed Priola


hile many UMD students made a Spring Break beeline to the beach, IAA student Becky Jones and three fellow students travelled to Annapolis to visit legislators and lobbyists involved in the state’s agricultural industry. Jones was joined by Gracie Brinsfield, Gabrielle Cory, Emily Solis, and IAA faculty members Ed Priola,

Larisa Cioaca, and Meredith Epstein. According to Jones, President of the Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter at UMD and an Agricultural Business Management major, the students were “determined to become the fresh voice of Maryland’s agricultural community.” Although, the UMD Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter has been active in Farm Bureau and campus initiatives, including Collegiate Discussion Meets in Ocean City, Md. and Pittsburgh, Pa., the Annapolis visit was its first legislative engagement. The chapter was formally recognized on the floor of the Maryland State Senate chamber by Senator Gail Bates of District 9. Subsequently, Jones and her colleagues sat down for a working breakfast with Parker Welch, the Maryland Farm Bureau’s Eastern Shore Regional Director and Young Farmers Committee Staffer. Welch briefed the students on the Farm Bureau’s advocacy resources, state and federal rule-making

processes, and the chief policy priorities of Maryland’s farming community. Once up to date, Jones and her colleagues met with Delegate Trent Kittleman of District 9A. Kittleman facilitated a discussion on the current challenges facing Maryland’s food production community. Then the UMD group met with Colby Ferguson, the Maryland Farm Bureau’s Government Relations Director, who provided details on relevant committee events and his organization’s related efforts. The students pledged to actively promote agriculture on the College Park campus and beyond. The Collegiate Farm Bureau helps students build professional networks, discuss issues impacting agriculture, understand the legislative processes, promote agriculture as an industry, and gain experience in agricultural leadership and communication. Lecturers from the IAA serve as faculty advisors.


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Farewell to Kevin Mathias, a “Jewel at Jull Hall” By: Rob Ballenger

Kevin Mathias’s first day at his new job at the Institute of Applied Agriculture came shortly after New Year’s Day in 1979.


his auspicious beginning for the young lecturer was initially met with cynicism from an industry colleague: “How long will you be there?” Mathias says IAA faculty turnover in his field – turfgrass instruction – was considered high back then, which made turf specialists hesitant to recommend it to prospective students. Mathias predicted he would be at the IAA for no longer than the length of the Ph.D. program he had just begun at the University of Maryland. That doctoral program in entomology wound up lasting longer than expected, as did his IAA career. Mathias is retiring after 38 years of teaching and advising IAA students. “The longer I was here,” Mathias says, “the more I enjoyed the [golf/turf] program and wanted to stay – the more I wanted to strengthen the program.” And strengthen it he did. IAA Director Glori Hyman credits Mathias “for single-handedly elevating the reputation of the IAA’s golf/ turf program. His success is due to his deep commitment to the students – academically, professionally and personally. Once you take a class with Kevin, he considers you a

student for life.” His commitment to students is reflected in large part by the student scholarships he’s helped make possible.

reputation, Mathias says, as shown by the many congratulatory letters that soon arrived from industry professionals and proud alumni.

Mathias is especially proud of helping raise money through the Shields Memorial Golf Tournament in coordination with IAA alumnus R. John Shields, Jr. (class of 1975). Inaugurated in 1980, the annual event has funded 113 scholarships for IAA Golf Course, Turfgrass, and Sports Turf Management students. Mathias is particularly happy that more scholarships will be awarded long after he retires. “Since the tournament began here, we’ve raised $200,000 for an endowment,” he says. In addition to scholarships, the fund has helped send IAA students to national competitions, such as GCSAA’s Collegiate Turf Bowl.

The IAA’s rise to Collegiate Turf Bowl fame began nearly two decades ago thanks to Mathias’s ambition for his students to compete and succeed. Mathias’s first team consisted of only two UMD students, including Steve Evans (class of 2001). As Evans recalls, “we had no idea what we were doing” at that first competition in New Orleans in 2000. Nonetheless, under Mathias’s leadership they finished in 7th place out of 45 teams. “That was a success,” Evans says. “Our next year at the Turf Bowl, we had a four-man team and finished 5th.” Over the years, Mathias’s teams have consistently placed in the top ten.

Mathias also helped launch TESCO’s endowed scholarship fund, which has been supporting IAA students’ education since 2003.

Around the time of the IAA’s first Turf Bowl, Mathias planted another seed that would grow into an annual event for his students. Evans remembers Mathias saying that he’d always wanted a golf tournament with a turf program rival, much like Penn State has with Michigan State. When Mathias told Evans that he wanted UMD to compete against Virginia

Under Mathias’s leadership, several IAA Turf Bowl teams have made their mark – including a first-place finish in 2014. That success elevated the IAA golf/turf program’s


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Tech, Evans told him about a contact he had in that school’s program. “So I said let’s do it,” according to Evans, “and this became the Mid-Atlantic Challenge Cup.” “I want to emphasize,” Evans adds, “that through the Turf Bowl & Mid-Atlantic Challenge Cup, I got to compare my education with other people’s. I came to find out that my education on insects was superior to every other program. Most other [programs’] courses might spend a couple of weeks on insects, whereas Kevin gave you the whole semester and a thorough working knowledge of turfgrass insects. That’s one of the things that set our IAA program apart.” Mathias brought his expertise to students in his Insects of Ornamentals & Turfgrass course, as well as other courses including Business Management Practices for Turf Facilities and Irrigation & Drainage Practices

for Turf. Mathias’s curriculum at the IAA benefits his students the moment they enter their professions. “You can tell that he cares about teaching students things that they will apply in the field,” according to former student Michael Bostian (class of 2003), “and everything is relevant during his program.” Bostian, the course superintendent at Waverly Woods Golf Club, says Mathias “stays on top of research and new techniques in the field being applied by current superintendents, and he makes sure his students can put their best foot forward when they land their first job out of school.” After so many years of preparing IAA students for a variety of turf jobs, Mathias heads into retirement with bittersweet anticipation. “I’ll miss the interaction with students, which I’ve always enjoyed,” he says. “Teaching is like performing in theater: when something goes well, you get a great sense of

satisfaction – everything connects. You can say, ‘I hit a home run on that one’.” Despite retirement, Mathias isn’t completely done taking some home run swings. “I would still like to do some part-time teaching,” he says – “I’ve got to keep busy for the next four to five years.” With a lighter teaching role, though, “I will have time to smell the roses,” Mathias says with a smile. While he enjoys retirement at his newly built home in central Virginia, Mathias’s legacy will endure at the IAA. It continues through the scholarship endowments, the golf tournaments, and the careers of hundreds of IAA graduates. As alumnus Steve Evans observes, “the professionalism that the IAA is turning out is very unique. There are lots of things Kevin has done for the turf industry as whole and the golf industry specifically. He’s a jewel at Jull Hall.”


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- Alumni News & Notes Thomé Chosen for Prestigious Program pipeline of talent available to the industry in the coming years.


n 2014, when Julia Thomé graduated with her Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture, she was named the IAA’s Outstanding Student. Three years later, she continues her outstanding ways. This spring, Thomé was chosen as one of five Fellows in Longwood Gardens’ inaugural Longwood Fellows Program. The program focuses on building the leadership capacity of high-potential public horticulture and cultural professionals, thereby increasing the

Currently Thomé is the Assistant Manager of Gardens and Grounds at the Chevy Chase Club, a private and distinctive social institution in Maryland. In addition to her IAA certificate, she holds a Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maine, and a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Massachusetts. Previously, Thomé served as the Director of Corporate Affairs for Lutheran World Relief and was also a Senior Coordinator at the Community Training and Assistance Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Thomé has extensive national and international travel experience and is fluent in Portuguese. Thomé was selected by a distinguished panel of seven jurors that included directors of prominent public gardens across the globe.

The five Fellows were selected based on their commitment to professional excellence, deep intellectual curiosity, and desire to serve in a leadership capacity within the public horticulture industry while representing diverse perspectives and backgrounds. During the 13-month, fully funded, cohortbased residency at Longwood, Thomé will delve into topical issues relevant to public horticulture today such as leadership, board relations and governance, communication skills, change management, innovation, and human resources management. A twomonth international field placement provides a deeper understanding of these issues, equipping Fellows to lead organizations into a vibrant and sustainable future. Alumni of the Fellows Program join the prestigious Society of Fellows, a global network of public garden professionals.

Patenaude Hits a Career Homerun the Dodgers’ position because “baseball is my first love and I love working for this organization. It was a tough decision but I think the correct one.” Plus, Patenaude was well aware that the LA Rams may only be at the Coliseum for two more years. This season marks Patenaude’s third season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his first as the Ground Crew Supervisor. He previously worked as the Assistant Sports Turf Manager at the LA Memorial Coliseum and at UC Irvine. Patenaude accredits his success to his time at the IAA.

By: Michelle Molinaro


any sports turf students dream of being offered a job at a well-known stadium: M&T Bank Stadium, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, or FedExField. But few imagine being offered jobs at two professional stadiums at the same time. That’s what happened to IAA alumni Justin Patenaude, a 2012 Sports Turf Management graduate. Patenaude received an offer as the Grounds Crew Supervisor at Dodger Stadium and another as the Head Sports Turf Manager at the LA Coliseum. Ultimately, he accepted

“When I graduated 4 years ago, I never thought I would have the opportunity to manage an MLB or NFL stadium this quickly or ever, he said. “It’s a testament to the wonderful job that Doc [Dr. Kevin Mathias] and the IAA faculty do in preparing us to become turfgrass managers. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for [the IAA faculty] and the rest of the staff.”

Jull Hall. “My favorite course was Diseases of Ornamentals and Turfgrass,” said Patenaude, but he is quick to admit that it has only now become his favorite class. “It probably wasn’t my favorite course at the time. However, it is probably the most important course I took at the IAA. The identification and control of diseases is a very important tool that I have to use far more than I would like.” When asked about his favorite memory while at the IAA, he spoke of the 2013 Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Student Challenge, adding that it was “Doc’s first-ever win!” Patenaude offered advice to incoming students as well as those who are graduating. “Take the time to get to know the staff. Everyone at the IAA is there to help you succeed. Anyone can grow grass and rake dirt. How you manage your staff will play a huge role in your success. Your crew will be your best asset or your worst.”

Like so many IAA graduates, Patenaude reminisces about his classes and time spent in


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- Alumni News & Notes A Generous In”Kline”ation

him solve problems and perform his job more efficiently.

By: Glori Hyman

In 2004 he landed a sweet job as the head estate gardener on a private property overlooking the Potomac River. Eventually, Kline retired for a second time and moved to Florida. In the 20 years since graduating from the IAA he has continued to support the IAA, sending notes of praise and encouragement. He supported the student branch of the PGMS and made financial contributions that covered student membership dues and travel expenses. Several years ago, he returned to the campus to meet with students and encourage them to get involved with their professional organizations.


ach year it’s difficult for us to narrow our choices to just one person to receive our Distinguished Alumni Award. We look for someone who is respected, successful and supportive of the IAA. This year the IAA faculty was unanimous in its choice—Byron Kline. Kline began his career as an accountant and owned a contracting company before jumping into trucking operations and revitalizing Jacobs Transfer/Ryder Inc. Eventually, he retired from the trucking business and found his way to the IAA in pursuit of a second career. He earned his certificate in Landscape Management in August 1995 with a 4.0 GPA. For a dozen years he enjoyed landscaping and gardening at prestigious golf courses, continually relying, he says, on his IAA contacts to help

Kline’s generous spirit, overall kindness, and strong desire to guide the next generation have earned him IAA’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2017. Pictured above: Byron Kline (center) receives his Distinguished Alumni Award from AGNR Dean Craig Beyrouty and IAA Director Glori Hyman.

Alumni Updates

View and download event photos: Four of Dr. Mathias’s original turfgrass students traveled from all over the country to join him at his retirement party on June 8. Pictured left to right: Glenn Smickley, Bill Consler, Kevin Mathias, Donn Dietrich, and Tony Gustaitis. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND / FEARLESS IDEAS

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Around the ‘Tute IAA Boasts Outstanding Educator and Top Student Leader By: Glori Hyman


n Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) alumnus once described Roy Walls as a “big boy scout,” which aptly fits his trustworthy, prepared, and helpful nature. This year, the Student Council of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) described him as “outstanding,” which is equally well-deserved. On May 10, Walls was named 2017 Outstanding Educator by the AGNR Student Council at its annual banquet. Walls has over 40 years of teaching experience, 27 of them with the IAA. Students praise Walls for his endless patience and willingness to work with students outside of class hours. Many students express true amazement after learning to weld, wire electrical circuits, and work with metal in Walls’ Agricultural Mechanics class. One of those students is Rebecka “Becky”

Roy Walls receives his award from Becky Jones at the AGNR Student Council banquet. Jones, a first-year Agricultural Business Management major at the IAA. Jones, who was also recognized at the banquet, proudly shared her welding story with the audience as she presented Walls with his award. Outstanding in her own right, Jones currently serves as President of the Collegiate Farm Bureau at the University of Maryland. The Collegiate Farm Bureau at UMD is an advocacy group that helps students gain

a greater understanding of the Maryland Farm Bureau, as well as the important role students play in ensuring that campus and government officials are aware of key topics and challenges within the agriculture industry. In addition to presiding over the University’s farm bureau chapter, Jones is the incoming President of the AGNR Student Council, making her the first IAA student to hold the position.

Impromptu in the Garden 2017 The weather could not have been better for this year’s Impromptu in the Garden public speaking contest. Clear skies illuminated both the Community Learning Garden and our student speakers. The contestants, who were nominated by their instructors, were all enrolled in the INAG 110: Oral Communication course at the IAA during Spring semester.

Contestants take a break from the competition to pose with their Oral Communication lecturers in the UMD Community Learning Garden.

As topics ranged from hot dogs to emojis, students selected surprise prompts created by lecturer Tony Pagnotti and had only minutes to improvise. Although every student’s presentation was unique, ultimately the judges named Poiret Coulibaly as the firstplace winner and honored recipient of a gift card to Chipotle.


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Around the ‘Tute Welcome Geoff Rinehart Welcome to Geoffrey Rinehart, the IAA’s new Lecturer and Turfgrass Management Advisor. Rinehart earned two bachelor’s degrees from Virginia Tech, one in Crop and Soil Environmental Science with a Turfgrass Management concentration, and the second in Horticulture with a Landscape Contracting concentration.

New Addition to Molinaro Family IAA Oral Communication lecturer Chelley Molinaro and her husband Gene welcomed a baby boy in February. Congratulations Chelley and Gene! Eugene Sebastian Molinaro Born 5 lbs., 7 oz. 19.25 inches long at 1:15 p.m. on February 23, 2017

Cheers to 30 Years

His master’s degree in Crop and Soil Science is from Michigan State. He brings over 15 years of turf industry experience with him to the job, including his most recent position as the coordinator of the Grass Roots Initiative. The 1.3 acre Grass Roots exhibit at the US National Arboretum attracts over 25,000 visitors per year and serves as a hands-on site for professional and homeowner educational programs. Rinehart says he will use his years of industry experience and “challenge students to be active learners.”

Faculty & Staff Notes Edward Priola earned a Doctor of Management degree from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and has been promoted to Senior Lecturer at the IAA. Randie Hovatter, the IAA’s Student Services Coordinator, graduated with her M.S. in Marketing Management from University of Maryland University College (UMUC). JoEllen Barnhart, Ph.D. has been named to the President’s Commission on Disability Issues, which is responsible for advising University President Wallace Loh on issues of concern to people with disabilities. J. Kevin Mathias, Ph.D. was awarded the Paul R. Poffenberger Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award at this year’s AGNR Convocation. Fun fact: Dr. Poffenberger was Dr. Mathias’s undergraduate advisor.

Maryland Day Plant Giveaway

At this year’s convocation for the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), IAA Business Services Specialist Carole Dingess was recognized for her 30 years of service at the University of Maryland. “Carole is the heart of the IAA,” according to IAA Director Glori Hyman. “She is the first person to greet students and visitors, and she is the go-to person for IAA faculty.” Thank you for your service, Carole!

IAA students Becky Jones, Cameron Bell, James Thomas, Cory Schuch, Maggie Popp, and Ben Prigg helped lead this year’s Maryland Day Plant Giveaway and did a fantastic job! At the end of the day, over 1,700 culinary herbs went home with satisfied owners.


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INAG News - Summer 2017  

Did you know that the IAA has no deadline to apply? Plus, happy retirement wishes to Dr. Mathias and BIG congratulations to our 2017 grads...

INAG News - Summer 2017  

Did you know that the IAA has no deadline to apply? Plus, happy retirement wishes to Dr. Mathias and BIG congratulations to our 2017 grads...