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IAA’s First Annual “Impromptu in the Garden” By Gerald Powell The Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) took the fear out of public speaking and replaced it with fun at its first Impromptu in the Garden, an event that celebrated the University of Maryland’s Fearless Ideas theme. A dozen fearless students taking INAG 110: Oral Communication showcased their skills at the event sponsored by Colonial Farm Credit. IAA Lecturer Tony Pagnotti emceed and organized the event while JoEllen Barnhart was the DJ musicologist. Her uncanny musical collection mixed acid trip, R&B, elevator music, rap, and world music, creating a treat for our eardrums. IAA program advisors Roy Walls, Ken Ingram and Meredith Epstein, as usual, were the invisible hands ensuring that the plants, garden, and technology were ready to roll. The IAA Teaching Garden flaunted the spring plantings of Epstein and her students and demonstrated once again the relationship between public speaking and agriculture. Participants Shira Mousas and Marcus Maxwell kicked off the competition with hilarious 2-minute bantering about being stuck in an elevator. Mousas’ spontaneity, nonverbal gestures, and vocalics earned her the top prize. The other top talker, Gabe Hernandez, was recognized for his incredibly fluid half-empty/half-full speech. The winning dyad went to Mickey Brock and Eden Watterson. Brock’s enigmatic speech dissuaded his daughter (played by Watterson) from dropping out of school in search of her inner zen. All participants displayed fearless attitudes toward public speaking, making

Students and IAA Faculty at the inaugural Impromptu in the Garden

their IAA oral communication instructors proud and making the judges’ job difficult. As difficult as the decision was, Colonial Farm Credit President Greg Farmer who served as a judge, said, “I’d much rather be a judge than stand up there and give an impromptu speech.” IAA Director Glori Hyman and Turfgrass Advisor Kevin Mathias, who also served as judges, agreed that Impromptu in the Garden drew a remarkable pool of speakers. “I was so impressed by the students—they hardly used any vocal fillers,” commented Hyman. “I heard very few ums, ahs, or ehs. And, it’s hard not to say um when you’re speaking off the cuff.” The winners received gift cards to Chipotle, courtesy of Colonial Farm Credit. The inaugural Impromptu in the Garden was made possible by the hard work of

the IAA’s team of oral communication instructors: JoEllen Barnhart, Eric Dunning, Amy Fisher, Nina LaTassa, Michelle Molinaro, Tony Pagnotti, Gerald Powell, and Ed Priola, and our gracious sponsor Colonial Farm Credit.

Contents From the Director ...2 Veterans at IAA ...3 Turf Terps at Turf Bowl ...4 Yields of Greens ...5 Graduation ...6 Student Files ...8 Alumni News ...9 Around the ‘Tute ...10 IAA’s 50th Year ...12




From the Director’s Desk Ever since I was a kid, it bothered me when frogs laid their eggs in mud puddles. I’m sure that to a frog these mud puddles seemed like ponds—safe, warm, quiet oases in which to spawn offspring. But having the height advantage over the tailless amphibians, I could see the big picture—the mud puddles would eventually dry up leaving fried tadpoles in hardened clumps of mud—and it worried me. So for several springs, I gathered my grandmother’s canning jars from the cellar (I hope she has forgiven me), plunged the large mouthed mason jars into the puddle, scooped up hundreds of tadpoles, and released them into the nearby stream. Now, in hindsight, I suspect that hastily removing the aquatic larvae from their peaceful sanctuary and dumping them into cold, fast-moving stream water probably only hastened their demise. Nonetheless, I believed I was doing my part to save the world’s frog population. Although in truth my real motive may have been more selfish, since catching frogs was one of our favorite summer pastimes.

Yet for many years the big picture feeling prevailed that the IAA would dry up and disappear. My goal as Director was not only to make sure the IAA survived, but that it thrived. And it has. In our silver anniversary year the IAA is as vibrant and visible as it has ever been. No longer an isolated puddle of peaceful water, the IAA has blended into the university’s educational ecosystem. IAA students have more educational opportunities than ever before. Much credit goes to faculty members who have dedicated decades of determination to the IAA achievement and a thousand alumni who have leaped forward to successful careers. The 50-year mark is a good time for reflection and celebration. I hope you will join us in the merriment by sending an email, posting a note or photo on the IAA Facebook page, attending an event, or simply sharing the good news with others. I extend my deep appreciation to every known and unknown champion of the IAA— students, parents, alumni, administrators, faculty, staff, stakeholders, and friends. Thank you for taking us from tadpoles to high jumpers.

As the IAA celebrates its 50th Anniversary year, I’m reminded of those tadpoles and their little “pond.” In many ways the IAA has been that little pond, an oasis providing a safe and idyllic place to learn and allowing students to grow solid legs before jumping into careers.

Glori D. Hyman Director and Instructor Institute of Applied Agriculture


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IAA Helps Veterans Transition to New Careers By Nina LaTassa

deployed to Iraq the following March.

Each summer millions of Americans celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends, barbecuing, lighting fireworks, and enjoying the warm weather outdoors. In their minds and hearts, people commemorate our freedom. We should also commemorate the bravery of veterans who have fought and died to make our country free. At the IAA, we are fortunate to call some of those military heroes our students. For veterans Jason Poole, Bob Borkowski, and Brandon Ellis, entering the two-year program was a wise choice to make following their careers in the service.

Ellis’ unit was responsible for a large number of captures of high valued targets, including Saddam Hussein. During his career, Ellis held such positions as Driver, Gunner, Supply Assistant, Squad Leader, Lead Scout, Senior Scout, Armorer, Air Defense and Air Space Management Team Leader, Training Room NCO, and Protection Security Detail Team Leader. “In February 2013 I was medically retired,” said Ellis, who became interested in the IAA after finding that he truly loved raising and taking care of animals on a farm. Though he had always worked on one, Ellis never had one of his own and wanted to make that dream a reality.

“I enlisted in the active Army in September of 1978, completed basic combat training and military police school, then spent three years stationed in what was then West Germany,” said Borkowski. “I originally worked on a hawk missile site for 18 months and was rotated to work my remaining 18 months as a ‘road MP’ or police patrol in the American community and bases in Central West Germany.” Upon retiring from the military, Borkowski continued to serve society as a police officer for the University of Maryland, Baltimore and retired in June of 2007. “I found the IAA leafing through a friend of mine’s agriculture literature. I chose the IAA based on the program’s curriculum and the possibility to learn who the major players were in sustainable agriculture in Maryland and do some serious networking,” said the veteran, who plans to develop his honey bee business. And Borkowski has no qualms about Jull Hall, his current hangout, where you’ll find him bantering back and forth with other students and faculty on any day of the school week. “The IAA would serve veterans well by recruiting them at military career days, giving them the opportunity to learn a new skill set. Veterans can utilize their new skills with the management skills they learned in the military,” Borkowski noted. “It would also help them transition back to civilian life, which is a leading issue for veterans. Military life is regimented and strict which is the total opposite of civilian life.” Like Borkowski, Ellis also had a passion for serving others. “At the age of 17, I signed up to join the Army,” said Ellis, who left for Fort Knox, Kentucky, in September 2002 and went through 19D Cavalry Scout OSUT (One Station Unit Training) before being

“The IAA provided a more realistic choice for me with a two year program and internship where I could get more hands on experience,” he said enthusiastically. “For veterans looking to learn more about agriculture, but who don’t want to spend a lot of time in a 4-year commitment, the IAA is a good choice. The teachers at the IAA are understanding and respectful to veterans and the difficulty they have switching from military to civilian life/ college life. The IAA has a great choice of different classes that will help put you on the path you choose.” Lastly, Poole was eager to come to the IAA to pursue a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture. After a semester in the IAA, he realized there were a great number of things he wanted to learn. “I was very impressed with the number of events for students to network and engage with experts in the field outside of school. On a daily basis, I receive messages regarding upcoming events, job opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and a number of other things. The IAA is very inclusive,” he said encouragingly. Poole was commissioned into the Active Duty Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1997 in the Medical Service Corps and moved to the Army Reserves in 2003 as a Captain. “In 2005 I was activated to deploy to Iraq. After my return, I resigned my commission in 2007 with an Honorable Discharge as a Captain from the U.S. Army Medical Department and went into a civilian healthcare career.”

Veteran Jason Poole in the class students call “Lamb Watch.”

reservations about being an older student. “If anything, though, being older has been helpful since I can use my experience as a resource. Not everyone can draw on over 20 years of experience in healthcare, logistics, operations, and human resources, but one thing the military does is produce leaders, and leadership translates into any degree program,” said Poole, who believes that veterans would feel comfortable with the applied-methods style of learning that is typical of IAA classes.

inagnews inagnews is published two times a year by the Institute of Applied Agriculture. The IAA welcomes all comments, alumni updates and agriculture-related news. Institute of Applied Agriculture Jull Hall, Room 2123 4196 Stadium Drive University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742 Tel.: 301-405-4685 Fax: 301-314-9343 IAAumd IAA_umd IAAumd

When Poole retired from healthcare in 2014 and enrolled at the IAA, he did have some

IAA Director—Glori Hyman Graphic Designer—Randie Hovatter


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Turf Terps Take 2nd at 2015 Collegiate Turf Bowl

University of Maryland coaches and team members at the 2015 Collegiate Turf Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. From left to right, front row: Dr. Kevin Mathias, Marvin Martinez, Ian Patrican, Jeff Bynaker, Scott Hebert, Will Goundry, Coach Alex Steinman, and John Critzos. Back row: Ryan Higgins, Brian Hogan, Jimmy Halley, and Shaun Clark.

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) hosted the 2015 Collegiate Turf Bowl in conjunction with its winter conference in San Antonio, Texas on February 26. Of the 69 teams, UMD teams placed 2nd, 19th and 23rd. As the reigning champions, the Maryland team felt the pressure going into the competition. The top-placing UMD squad, nicknamed the “Big H” team (their last names all start with the letter H) included Jimmy Halley (IAA), Scott Hebert (IAA), Ryan Higgins (PSLA) and Brian Hogan (IAA). Even though they scored higher in this year’s competition (431 points) compared to their winning score of 425 points in 2014, they could not outscore a determined Penn State team that amazed everyone with 449 points, setting a Collegiate Turf Bowl Competition record. Maryland’s 19th place team, dubbed the “Dream Team,” consisted of IAA students Jeff Bynaker, John Critzos, Marvin Martinez, and Ian Patrican. The Turf Terps team of Shaun Clark (IAA), Gabe Gammill (IAA), and Will Goundry (PSLA) surged to 23rd place. Students commented how the conference and the competition enhanced their networking skills and sense of camaraderie with fellow students. Clark, an IAA Golf Course Management student, said, “The trip to San Antonio was a great overall experience and I can’t wait until next year’s competition.” The Collegiate Turf Bowl covers various

The Turf Terps teams pose for a picture in their suits at the Collegiate Turf Bowl Reception. Kneeling and left to right: Gabe Gammill, John Critzos, and Jeff Bynaker. Standing and left to right: Will Goundry, Brian Hogan, Ryan Higgins, Ian Patrican, Shaun Clark, Marvin Martinez, Jimmy Halley, and Scott Hebert.

areas relating to golf turf maintenance, from turfgrass weed, insect, and disease identification to business and people management skills. The team of Halley, Hebert, Higgins, and Hogan received a $2,000 check from John Deere during the awards ceremony. The UMD teams also

attended a John Deere reception titled “Showdown at Sunset Station,” various educational seminars, and the Closing Ceremony. Special thanks to John Deere for sponsoring this event since 2010.


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Terp Farm—Yields of Greens By Meredith Epstein It has been a long time coming. A space where IAA and other UMD students can work side by side, learning and growing the very food they eat together. This is Terp Farm. Founded in 2014, Terp Farm is now in its second season. Farm Manager Guy Kilpatric, along with dozens of students over the course of the year, coaxes vibrant and nutritious vegetables and fruits from its well-tended soil. Many of these students are IAA students—visiting the farm on field trips, getting hands-on experience in the INAG 213: Crop Production Practices class, and fulfilling internship requirements. This summer, two of the four student workers at Terp Farm were Sustainable Agriculture majors at the IAA. Jonathan Hollingsworth of Takoma Park, MD and Michael Perise of Dunkirk, MD put in 40 hours of tough work each week from May to August. Hollingsworth took the position with the intention of mastering fundamental farming skills, developing more confidence as a farmer, and “analyzing alternative methods and actions.” He finds it valuable that Kilpatric takes time to explain the reasoning behind the practices. Perise, who has grown up raising crops of vegetables and tobacco, hopes to add new sustainable farming practices to his repertoire. “I see a great interest in local produce,” he says, adding that he hopes to start his own business after completing his IAA certificate. Some of the work at Terp Farm follows

a regular schedule—squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cabbage must be picked on certain days. Washing and packing follow in the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certified wash station. Water flows through the leaves and fruits, which pile neatly into bins, which stack into the van and wheel their way to campus. Terp Farm produce is featured primarily on the Green Tidings food truck, in catered meals across campus, and in the 251 North dining facility. Other work only knows the time that nature affords it—seedlings are transplanted into the field between bouts of rain, when the soil will not be damaged. Pest control is a race. Plants do not take holidays. “Just when you hit a stride, something breaks,” Perise muses, “but that’s just farming.” The challenges are many, and so are the rewards. “Farming requires such a breadth of skills— construction, carpentry, plant science, ergonomics, and more,” describes Hollingsworth. “There is a steep learning curve and it teaches you how to be humble.” Perise added that he has learned what his limits are being out in the elements, but that in the end, “experiencing things hands on is the best. It sticks to you.” The IAA is thrilled to have sponsored these students’ summer internship experiences and to be closely involved with educational experiences on Terp Farm. It is vital to have this resource available to our students!

MAAGCS Receives Circle of Friends Award By Ken Ingram The Mid-Atlantic Association of Golf Course Superintendents (MAAGCS) received the Circle of Friends Award from the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) Alumni Association. IAA Alumni Mike Barrett (Golf Course Management 1995), MAAGCS Past President, accepted the award at the AGNR Alumni Banquet on April 16. The award is given to organizations for “out of the ordinary service” to the college. The Mid-Atlantic chapter was recognized for its contributions to research, scholarship, and opportunities for students. MAAGCS helps offset travel expenses for IAA Turf Bowl teams and the association graciously waives registration fees for students so they can attend educational events. The IAA is proud to have many alumni who have served on the MAAGCS Board. Congratulations to the MAAGCS and welcome to the Circle of Friends. Shown Above: MAAGCS Past President and IAA Alum Mike Barrett receives the Circle of Friends Award from Dean Cheng-i Wei (left)

SHOW US YOUR SWAG IAA students showed their swAG during the spring semester by taking selfies in their IAA classes. Of the 25 photos submitted, Scott Hebert’s photo in the Ag Mechanics shop had the most “likes” on Facebook. Check out all the photos on the IAA’s Facebook page. Alumni and friends are encouraged to show your IAA swAG as well.

Use #IAAswAG when you post photos on social media to show the diverse areas of study and career options that the IAA offers its students. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND / FEARLESS IDEAS

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IAA Graduation


By Gerald Powell May 21 and 22, 2015 marked the campuswide commencement for the University of Maryland and individual schools and colleges. Among the hardworking and welldeserving graduates are the IAA graduates who have labored in and on hay, turf, soil, fields, greenhouses and many other surfaces. Prior to the commencement exercise, IAA faculty and staff congratulated the graduates at the University of Maryland Golf Course Club House, where everyone enjoyed a buffet lunch and shared stories of memorable moments at the IAA. The mood was relaxing, lacking any nervousness or uncertainty about the future. Contrary to most graduations, the one topic I noticed that was hardly broached was: What are you doing after graduation? There’s a good reason it’s not a priority topic. For the past 20 years, IAA students have enjoyed a 92% rate of job placement, and this year’s graduating class is no different. Unlike most graduates who will begin their summers hunting for jobs in their major, most of the IAA graduates have already secured employment in their respective fields. This was the same message with which IAA Director Glori Hyman recruited the now graduates and echoed by distinguished IAA alumnus Mark Merrick, graduating class of 1985, who spoke about the importance of communication, education, and risk aversion. Our straw hats go off to our newest alumni.

Timothy Burkhart of Lusby, MD - Golf Course Management

Tim currently works at the Chesapeake Hills Golf Course and plans to stay in the area and eventually become an assistant golf course superintendent. Tim interned at two different courses: Woodholme Country Club in Pikesville, MD and Anchorage Golf Course in Anchorage, AK. He participated in the 2013 Collegiate Turf Bowl competition and volunteered at the Shields Memorial Golf Tournament.

Brian Dearstine of College Park, MD - Turfgrass Management

Brian is the Assistant Superintendent at the University of Maryland Golf Course.

Jesse Dietsch of Walkersville, MD - Sports Turf Management

Jesse interned with the Washington Nationals and continues to work with the grounds crew. His goal is to secure a permanent position as a groundskeeper with a major league baseball team. While attending the IAA, Jesse was involved with designing and installing an irrigation system for the IAA Teaching Garden.

Nick Harmer of Elkton, MD - General Ornamental Horticulture

Nick is continuing his education to pursue a Master’s in Counseling Psychology with an interest in Green Therapy. Nick was a recipient of the Dr. Ronald J. Seibel Scholarship.

Brian Hogan of Huntingtown, MD - Golf Course Management

Brian is the Assistant Superintendent at Argyle Country Club in an agreement to become the Superintendent after one year. He was honored as the IAA’s outstanding student for 2015 at the AGNR Alumni Awards Program. Brian was a member of the “Fab Four” team that won the 2014 Collegiate Turf Bowl Competition in Orlando, FL. He was the recipient of four scholarships and a member of two first-place teams at the Sports Turf Managers Association student competition.

Collin Plumley of Mt. Airy, MD - Landscape Management

Collin transferred into UMD’s 4-year Landscape Management Program and expects to graduate with his degree in 2016. He currently works for Bartlett Tree Experts. Collin received the Dr. Ronald J. Seibel Scholarship and PGMS Scholarship.

Jake Reeves of Rising Sun, MD - Golf Course Management

Jake has secured a position at Nemacolin Woodlands Golf Resort in Farmington, PA, which he hopes will lead to a permanent position. While attending the IAA, Jake was active in AGR fraternity and the IAA Alumni Tree planting ceremony.


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Class of 2015

From left to right: Collin Plumley, Nick Harmer, Brian Hogan, Jesse Dietsch, Tim Burkhart, and IAA Director Glori Hyman

When asked what they enjoyed the most and remembered about the IAA, the class of 2015 responses included the caring and dedicated faculty, the annual IAA Turkey Bowl, and the practical experience gained from their internships. As we send off our graduating class of 2015, we welcome our new class of 2017. We wish our newly minted graduates the very best in their endeavors and ecological pursuits in making the world more sustainable one seed at a time. Congratulations! UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND / FEARLESS IDEAS

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Student Files “Really, if it hadn’t been for the accident, Brian would have never come to the IAA,” says his wife Patty. “Now that he’s graduated, he wants to stay. I can’t get him to leave.”

Hogan the Hero

Hogan smiles and nods in agreement, “I do want to stay. It would be fun to teach at the IAA. It’s such a great place.”

Hogan’s advisor, Dr. Kevin Mathias, is thinking of ways to keep Hogan involved, possibly coaching the Turf Bowl and From adversity comes achievement. That’s how I would describe Brian Hogan’s journey Sports Turf teams. As a member of three gold-medal teams—the 2014 Collegiate at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA). Hogan, a Golf Course Management Turf Bowl, and the 2014 and 2015 STMA Student Challenge teams—Hogan would major, was honored as the Outstanding have great insights. IAA Student on April 16 at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) While he did achieve much success as Alumni Chapter Awards Celebration. an IAA student, Hogan faced daunting obstacles. The lingering pain and fatigue I first met Hogan in August of 2012 on from the accident forced him to withdraw the first floor of Jull Hall. I mention the first floor because the medical contraption from class his first semester and he could he wore on his leg made it impossible for only take one class his second semester. He persevered and eventually began him to negotiate the stairs to our second floor offices. Hogan, who was recovering attending classes full time and putting in so many hours that the IAA faculty and from a serious car-crushing accident, staff jokingly dubbed the conference room planned to use his medical leave time to “Brian’s Office.” gain an education. By Glori Hyman

During the summer of 2013 Hogan interned at Hampshire Greens Golf Course in Silver Spring, MD under IAA alum, Teddy Blauvelt. Upon graduation in December, he accepted a position at Laytonsville Golf Course in Gaithersburg, MD. Then, he became the Assistant at Argyle Country Club in Silver Spring. In addition, Hogan was recognized for his academic success by being selected as a 2013 GCSAA National Student Scholar and recipient of a 2013 and 2014 MAAGCS Scholarship. He graduated with a 3.35 GPA. “Brian is such an inspiration in the challenges he has had to deal with such as surviving a serious car accident and then going through the physical rehabilitation that was required of him,” says Mathias. “He made a decision to go back to school to pursue his passion, and he was extremely focused. He was an excellent student who always contributed by asking questions and interacting very well with other students.” We’re proud to call Hogan our hero and Outstanding Student for 2015.

Serendipity of Smolinski, Scholarships, and Smithsonian By Glori Hyman Institute of Applied Agriculture student Meg Smolinski won the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), D.C. Branch, scholarship and the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA) Scholarship. Smolinski, an ornamental horticulture major, was recognized at the PGMS branch’s May meeting at Smithsonian Gardens Greenhouse Facility and was announced the winner by the MNLGA in August. Serendipity or a good omen, the Smithsonian location suited Smolinski perfectly since her career goal is to work for the Smithsonian Gardens. Before enrolling at the IAA, she spent several years volunteering in the gardens at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. That’s where she became interested in edibles. However, Smolinski confesses to being a “liberal arts major at heart. I love, love, love American history,” she says. Combining her love of history with horticulture, Smolinski secured a summer internship at Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, near Charlottesville, VA. “It’s the best of both worlds—American history and working in the gardens,” says Smolinski. “I’m happy to say that it’s been a really great internship. It was an excellent balance of using skills I had already acquired, such as weeding, edging, and planting, and learning or improving on new skills, such as blowing, pruning, and mowing.” At the beginning of the summer, Smolinski had hoped to work on some sort of research project, and she got her wish. Working with a fruit gardener, Smolinski used a Trimble GPS to map the south orchard. “There are a lot of known fruit trees in the orchard and so the second step was to compare to see if we can nail down the species for any of them. And of course, the best part about working in the orchard is that we sample the wares as we go! So far, we’ve found peaches, plums, pears, apples, cherries, nectarines, apricots, and quinces.” Her IAA Advisor Ken Ingram believes Smolinski was an ideal candidate for the scholarships because she’s an excellent student and demonstrates all the qualities the selection committees look for. After a decade of working, Smolinski left her job to become a full-time student, so she appreciates the financial help that the scholarships provide. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND / FEARLESS IDEAS

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Alumni News & Notes IAA Fall 2015 Scholarship Winners Congratulations to this year’s IAA Scholarship recipients.

In July, Stephen Brew, GOLF ‘14, became the First Assistant at Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort in Los Angeles, CA, a 36 hole resort course. Christopher (Buddy) Hipp, GOLF ‘11, is a Project Manager with Ashton Manor Environmental in Ashton, MD. Kevin Boyle, GOLF ‘11, is working at Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington, VA. He got married in April 2014. Jake Valentino, GOLF ‘10, is the Superintendent at Ashwood Golf Course near Los Angeles, CA. Corey Walker, GOLF ‘10, is the Assistant Superintendent at Hampshire Greens Golf Course in Silver Spring, MD.

Shields Memorial Scholarship:

Cecil Massie Scholarship:

Scott Hebert John Critzos Shaun Clark

Joyce Drake

Edward M. Bowman Family Scholarship:

Tesco Scholarship:

Austin Weinreich

Meg Smolinski

Mark Merrick: 2015 IAA Distinguished Alumnus

Celebration of Scholars IAA students Scott Hebert (Golf Course Management) and Joyce Drake (Sustainable Agriculture) were among the select few AGNR students invited to attend the Philanthropy Society Scholarship Reception & 18th Annual Celebration of Scholarships on Friday, April 17, at the College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. “I had a wonderful time and I am honored to represent the Institute,” commented Drake. “Great interactions and I am happy to support the IAA anytime.” Celebration of Scholarships is an annual spring event during which UMD donors meet with students who benefit directly from their generosity.

The IAA’s 2015 Distinguished Alumnus, Mark Merrick, is a well-known and respected figure in Maryland’s turfgrass industry. As Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Genesis Turfgrass, Inc., Merrick leads 14 sales representatives in 6 states generating $21 million in sales annually. Recognized at the IAA graduation luncheon, Merrick recapped his career accomplishments and concluded by saying it was all possible because he is a graduate of the Insitute of Applied Agriculture. He encouraged all the new graduates to take advantage of the IAA’s strong reputation.

Lauren Kovacs, EQUI ‘08, is the Project Assistant for the Equine Protection Division for The Humane Society of the United States. After working in Sports Turf for 10 years, Nick Donner, TURF ‘07, transitioned to golf course management and became the Assistant Superintendent at the Hunt Valley Golf Club in Phoenix, MD. We welcome Brendan Rapp, GOLF ‘05, back to campus as the University of Maryland Golf Course Superintendent. Tucker Langway, GOLF ‘04, is a Property Manager with the Baltimore County Government. Lee Irwin, FARM ‘87, owns Aquatic Resource Restoration Company, which specializes in storm water BMPs, stream restoration, wetland deliniation, and wetland mitigation. John Bruning, FARM ‘82, resides in Trenton, GA. He and his family still farm over 1,000 acres of soybeans and corn. Anthony Parks, HORT ‘80, has worked in horticulture since he received his certificate. He has worked for garden centers, several nurseries, Harford Community College on the grounds and athletic fields, a property management firm and is currently working for the State Highway Department. Watch interviews with IAA Alumni:


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INAG News — 9

Food Chain$

Maryland Day Success

To kick off April’s celebration of Earth Day (April 22) and to expand the campus dialogue about our food system, IAA Sustainable Agriculture Lecturer Meredith Epstein teamed up with Dining Services and UM Extension to present a campus-wide movie screening of Food Chains, “an exposé about an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battling to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.”

During Maryland Day 2015 the IAA gave away over 1,200 culinary herbs to want-to-be fearless gardeners. Visitors took home basil, sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary and chive plants to test their own green thumbs. Ken Ingram and his students carefully started and cared for the plants in the University of Maryland greenhouse, and were happy to see so many eager gardeners. But fearless gardeners must also deal with insects, so the IAA’s own bug doctor, the Good Dr. Mathias set up Bess Bug Races to entertain the crowds. Maryland Day is held every year on the last Saturday of April.

Epstein says, “The screening was a huge success as students, faculty, and staff from across campus came together to discuss issues that span the entire food system— from marketing to healthcare to food waste.”

Dr. Kevin Mathias entertains a young visitor with racing Bess Bugs.

The IAA Welcomes New Faculty & Staff The IAA welcomes four new members to our team. Rob Ballenger joined the IAA faculty as an Oral Communication Lecturer after 15 years educating and coaching college students and professionals in the art of communication. Most recently, he has been producing and editing NPR’s “All Things Considered” news magazine show. He holds an M.A. in Speech Communication from University of Washington, and a B.A. in Communication Studies from Virginia Tech. With her MBA from the University of Maryland Smith School of Business and 8 years managing corporate communications, Larisa Cioaca joins the IAA faculty eager to develop our new Leadership and Communication concentration. “Larisa is one of those rare people who is skilled in

IAA Director Glori Hyman serves as a Celebrity Chef during the AGNR breakfast (pictured here with President Loh and flanked by AGNR Associate Deans).

communication, analytical thinking, finance, and leadership. We’re very fortunate to have lured her away from the corporate world,” says IAA Director Glori Hyman.

Sustainable Agriculture Lecturer Meredith Epstein gives herb growing tips.

teaching INAG 222: Landscape Design and Implementation this Fall.

The final eager and enthusiastic member to join the IAA The IAA is excited this fall is graphic to welcome one of designer, marketing our alumni back assistant and social to campus as part media whiz Randie of our teaching Hovatter. A native staff. Anne Agee of Maryland’s Gleeson graduated Eastern Shore and from the IAA in graduate from 1981, and then Salisbury University completed her BS in with a B.F.A. in Horticulture from Graphic Design, Rob Ballenger, Larisa Cioaca, and Randie Hovatter UMD. Continuing Hovatter is the her education, IAA’s new Student Gleeson earned her Master’s in Services Coordinator. She will be recruiting Landscape Architecture. For 17 years, students, marketing programs, updating she has operated her own business, social media, and handling alumni relations. A.G. Environmental Restoration, LLC, providing services for landscape To learn more about the IAA’s faculty and architecture, ecological restoration, and staff, or to get contact information, visit environmental planning. She will be


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Ingram Wins Plant Grants

Faculty Notes

“Ken Ingram may well go down in university history as the man who squelched sneaker stench from dorm rooms across campus,” jokes IAA Director Glori Hyman when praising Ingram’s plant giveaways. “We certainly learned one thing from the Green Dorm Project,” continues Hyman. “Students love plants, and they love free, healthy plants even more.”

Oral Communication Lecturer JoEllen Barnhart is the newest IAA faculty member to join Chesapeake Project, an initiative to integrate sustainability across the curriculum of the University of Maryland. Participants attend a two-day workshop to learn about core concepts of environmental, economic, and social sustainability and explore unique ways of integrating sustainability into their existing courses across all academic disciplines. Barnhart joins fellow IAA faculty Glori Hyman and Ken Ingram.

IAA Ornamental Horticulture Advisor Ken Ingram organized two plant give-away events this year for University of Maryland students, and the popularity of the events prompted Ingram to look for additional funding so he and his students can continue growing house plants for dorm rooms. “We love doing the work and students learn about greenhouses and propagating plants, but it does get costly,” says Ingram, who managed to secure two grants to continue the project: one from the Pepsi Enhancement Fund and the other from the CHS Foundation. The Pepsi grants are a campus initiative, but CHS is a national farmerowned cooperative working to help America’s farmers be more successful. In 2014, CHS and the CHS Foundation invested $10.5 million to develop the next generation of agricultural leaders, improve ag safety and grow vibrant communities by awarding nearly 700 grants and scholarships. “We’re fortunate to have access to the University’s Research Greenhouse Complex,” adds Ingram. “The Plant Science Department and its Chair Angus Murphy have been extremely supportive of the IAA’s efforts and our students, so credit also goes to them and the greenhouse staff.” Sometimes referred to as an “urban oasis,” the Research Greenhouse Complex includes four separate greenhouses with a total area of 39,729 square feet. While Ingram and his students grow the plants, organize the giveaways, and educate other students about plant care, Ingram says he relies on the IAA faculty to spread the word around campus. IAA Oral Communication Lecturer Tony Pagnotti is glad to help. “We’re always looking for a way to tie agriculture into our classes, so when we tell our students they can stop by the IAA for a free plant they jump on the offer,” he says. When students returned to campus this fall, they, too, greened their dorm rooms and freshened the air thanks to Ingram and his plant grants.

4-Hers Adventure into Sports Turf Science

Congratulations to Nina LaTassa on another successful year advising the Speech and Debate Society, which did the IAA proud during its productive 2014-15 competitive season. The team nabbed its highest honors in Ocean City, MD, in early March, taking away quarterfinalist awards in persuasive and impromptu speaking. The tight-knit team is focusing its efforts on hosting its first-ever tournament at UMD’s College Park in October. The oratorical affair is expected to attract teams from such bigname rhetoric giants as James Madison University, George Mason University, and Lafayette College. LaTassa has been thrilled with the progress of the society, and the accomplishments it’s garnered over the past year. “I love these guys. They’re fun, hard-working, motivated, and just a great bunch of kids to work with. I can’t wait for what the future holds!”

How fast does a golf ball roll? How hot is the turf? How much water does the soil hold? These were among the questions discussed when 24 Prince George’s County 4-Hers turned to the IAA for a science lesson. “Educators are focused on STEM areas now—science, technology, engineering and math,” explains IAA Director Glori Hyman, “and agriculture has it all. Combine that with the cool gadgets and the Maryland football field, and you have a winning lesson.” IAA Lecturers Kevin Mathias and Roy Walls created hands-on learning for the enthusiastic youth using a stimpmeter to measure the speed of a rolling ball on a grass surface, a thermometer to measure soil temperature at different depths, a Field Scout TDR Soil Moisture meter to measure soil moisture, a Clegg Impact Hammer to measure surface hardness, a Trimble GPS unit to measure area and a Smart Level to determine surface slope. “We wanted the kids to use math, science and technology to learn about factors that affect turf quality and safety for the athletes,” says Walls. “It’s all about exposure,” adds Mathias. “The kids see sports turf as an area of science and eventually maybe even a career option.”

And congratulations to LaTassa on the birth of her son, Louca Anthony, who was born August 10, 2015. Louca weighed a healthy 7 pounds, 12 ounces. Everyone is well.


Summer/Fall 2015

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INAG News - Summer/Fall 2015

INAGnews Summer-Fall 2015  

Catch up with summer and fall happenings at the Institute of Applied Agriculture! This fall kicks off our 50th Anniversary year of providing...

INAGnews Summer-Fall 2015  

Catch up with summer and fall happenings at the Institute of Applied Agriculture! This fall kicks off our 50th Anniversary year of providing...