M.S. Student, Ecological & Environmental Sciences Department, University of Rhode Island
From a young age, Emma helped her father with the family’s vegetable garden every season. In middle school, she cared for her school’s vegetable which was built and maintained in cooperation with Healthy Food for Healthy Kids, an organization that works with local schools to educate children about gardening. Towards the end of middle school, Emma’s teacher asked the students to research careers they were interested in. Emma chose horticulture of course! Inspired by her middle school research into the horticulture program at UD, she decided to apply to its undergraduate program.
As an undergraduate in Plant & Soil Sciences (PLSC) and Landscape Horticulture and Design (LHD) from 2012-2016, Emma took many courses in plant materials and found ways to be involved in the horticultural world. Volunteering in the UD Fischer Greenhouse with Dr. Frey in PLSC kick-started her career path in plant propagation, and she decided to follow the Ornamental Horticulture concentration within the LHD degree. In 2014, she pursued a summer internship at UDBG. As her first employment introduction to the career of horticulture, the internship offered the basic skills she needed to thrive in a variety of horticulture jobs. She especially enjoyed learning how to identify and care for the wide diversity of plants at the botanic gardens. She was also active in the Horticulture Club during her undergraduate years, holding a number of positions ranging from secretary to president. In the summer before her senior year at UD, Emma interned at Mt. Cuba Center where she assisted with maintaining its extensive meadow. Impressively, she was also one of the first interns in a program called Blossoms Floral Design at the UD during her senior year of college. This six-month internship provided training in all aspects of floral design. Emma learned how to manage a floral design business and helped create arrangements for special events on campus.
After graduation, Emma accepted a position as Greenhouse Horticulturist at Highland Orchards Farm Market in Wilmington, DE. As Greenhouse Horticulturist, she propagated flowers, herbs, vegetables, herbs, microgreens, annuals, and native perennials. She also arranged floral bouquets for the farm to sell. Emma was especially thrilled that she diversified the plants offered at Highland Orchards, which now sells many more native or ecologically valuable plants as a result of her efforts. Other positions she has held include floral processing at Belak Flowers florist shop, and seasonal winter employment in the greenhouse at Terrain at Styers. She also became the volunteer editor of the Delaware Native Plant Society’s newsletter.
In the summer of 2019, Emma returned to UD for a joint-internship between Cooperative Extension’s Soil Testing Program and Plant Diagnostic Clinic, working with Karen Gartley and Nancy Gregory respectively. In August, she began a Master’s Degree in Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. Emma is studying propagation and conservation of native Rhode Island plant species and other organisms that may rely on them.