Student Stories: Seedway internship led to horticulture minor

June 03, 2009

While many students believe fruits and vegetables come from the grocery store, Brandon Allison, who graduated from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences in 2007 with an Agribusiness Management degree, investigated the dynamics of fruit and vegetable production during an undergraduate internship with Seedway in 2006.

Although unfamiliar working in an agricultural setting, he immersed himself in the outdoor farming experience. "My internship responsibilities included fertilizing and bed preparation, collecting data, such as plant height, weight and fruit yield, and helping to manage pests by monitoring insect traps," Allison said.

Seedway, a division of GROWMARK, is a seed company that markets turf and farm seed to the northern United States, and flower seed from the Rocky Mountains to Ontario, Canada.

Allison's experience working with Seedway led him to an academic emphasis in horticulture. "I really enjoyed the chance to work with different types of plants," he said. "The internship showed me that there are many interesting dynamics to working with plants, and that challenged me to minor in horticulture."

Working with plants is a unique experience, Allison said, because you have the opportunity to be a part of the planting and growing process from start to finish. "Working with plants and seeing the transformation from seed to maturity makes the job worthwhile," he explained. "I like horticulture because it serves mankind and because it's an ever-changing industry that each day brings a new set of responsibilities and challenges.

"My internship with Seedway was a great experience that taught me a lot about the agribusiness world," said Allison. "The company has an incredible internship program that allowed me to travel to Illinois several times, meet the bigwigs of the company and work on some interesting field projects, such as a trapping program that uses pheromones to lure and capture male moths to assess population and determine proper pesticide application."

Allison also studied different pollinators for seedless watermelons for the internship's required individual project. "The internship program was nice because there was a lot of autonomy in it," he explained.

While still studying at Penn State, Allison was recruited by The Brickman Group, a national commercial landscaping company. He is now a crew supervisor with the company and is based in Columbia, Md. He hopes to remain in the area and rise within the company, aspiring to one day become a branch manager.

Allison attributes his career success to the hands-on, realistic approach to academics taken by the College of Agricultural Sciences. "It prepares you for the real world," he said. "Professors give you challenges and assignments that give you a chance to think outside the box and outside the classroom."

  • Brandon Allison's internship led to a horticulture minor.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010