Intern of the Year: Getting Started By Carrie Burns and Bridget White

GPN and Nexus are looking for 2004's Intern of the Year. Are you that someone, or do you know someone who is?

Good employees are hard to find, or rather, hard-working,knowledgeable employees are hard to find. When you do find them and hire them,you want to reward them. While an intern may not be a permanent employee, theytypically work hard because this is what they want as their career.

An internship is a winning situation for many people. Theintern gains industry knowledge he or she could never receive in the classroom;the employer acquires a hard-working hand at a minimal cost; the university orcollege cements a satisfied and successful alumni who can attest to theexperience he or she has gained through the school; and the industry gains aknowledgeable and experienced personality.

If you had a great intern this summer — one you thinkworthy of notice — GPN and Nexus Corporation have the perfect way to rewardthat hard-working up-and-comer. The winner will appear on the cover of GPN’sJanuary 2004 issue and in a feature article about them and their experiences asan intern. Oh yeah, did we mention the $3,000 scholarship check for the winnerand the $500 check for the runner up?


We’ve had some outstanding winners the past four years, andwith each passing year, the competition gets tougher and tougher. These youngwomen (yes, they have all been women, and this is a direct challenge to all themale interns out there!) exhibit the qualities that every grower is searchingfor in their employees — loyalty, innovation, determination, knowledge, etc.– and we are proud to have sponsored them in their careers.

Jennifer Browne. The2003 winner hailed from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. She completed herinternship with North Creek Nursery, Landenberg, Pa. Here is a quick excerptfrom Browne’s winning essay: “The radio is turned to some R&B hip hopstation, and Junior, Poncho and I are in a potting rhythm: Make a hole in thesoil, tease the roots, stick in the plant, cover the roots. . .This is whatwe’ve been doing all afternoon for the last couple of days and what we willcontinue to do in the weeks to come so we can fill an order of 3,000quart-sized plants placed by a single customer.”

Janna Hogue. The2002 winner came to us from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, and completedher internship at Metrolina Greenhouses, Huntersville, N.C. In her essay, Hogueexplained what she gained from the internship: “My initial hope for myinternship was to work not only in different types of greenhouse structureswith numerous crops, but also with several growers. I am extremely pleased thatI was given that opportunity. Each grower taught me many special skills that Iwill carry with me.”

Sarah McQueen. Thewinner of the 2001 scholarship graduated from Michigan State University, EastLansing, Mich. McQueen carried out her internship at Andy Mast Greenhouse,Grand Rapids, Mich. Though she had completed other internships previous to thisone, McQueen learned about large-scale production the year she was awarded theintern scholarship. “My summer at Andy Mast Greenhouse was unique in thatit was the first time I saw how complicated and labor-intensive a largewholesale greenhouse operation can be. Workers were busy all summer while I wasthere, but the real busy season doesn’t even start until November whenpoinsettia shipping begins. . .Working in the commercial production sector reallyemphasized the seasonal nature of the industry.”

Melinda Froning. Thefirst GPN/Nexus Intern Scholarship, awarded in 2000, went to Froning, agraduate of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn. Froning completed herinternship at Four Star Greenhouse, Carleton, Mich., and took the readers ofher essay through each facet of the internship. “I spent my first twoweeks in the shipping department. . .I then worked in customer service. . .Ithen worked as a section grower in the poly houses. . .I enjoyed working in thetrial/research department because of the few people involved and the newness ofthe work. . .Since I worked in so many different capacities, I closely observedthe relationships between departments, management and section growers. From this,I realized the importance of communication and cooperation in a company.”


Applications for the 5th Annual GPN/Nexus Intern Scholarshipare being accepted now through October 15, 2003.

To be considered, applicants must meet the following requirements:enrollment in a 4-year, accredited university during the 2002-2003 and2003-2004 school years; pursuit of an undergraduate degree in a branch offloriculture; and internship in a production greenhouse during the summer of2003. Applicants who meet these requirements should send a cover letterrequesting consideration for the scholarship and telling what university theyattend; a letter from their academic advisor recommending the applicant andattesting to enrollment; and an essay that describes their intern experience,including who they interned for and what their responsibilities were. Essayswill be assessed by a panel of judges on the quality of the experience,knowledge gained and the applicant’s ability to describe the experience.

All applications should be mailed to: GPN/Nexus InternScholarship, c/o Bridget White, 380 E. Northwest Hwy., Suite 200, Des Plaines,IL, 60016. Applications must be postmarked by October 15, 2003 to beconsidered. For further information, contact Bridget White at (847) 391-1004 [email protected]

Carrie Burns and Bridget White

Carrie Burns is associate editor and Bridget White is editorial director of GPN. They may be reached by phone at (847) 391-1019 or (847) 391-1004 or E-mail at [email protected] or [email protected]

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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.

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