College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Alumni Spotlight: Jason Rightnour '98

Institute of Applied Agriculture graduate Jason Rightnour probably has one of the coolest jobs around.

“I run the White House Greenhouse,” said Rightnour nonchalantly. “I’ve been doing that for 14 years.”

The alumnus, who hails from Bowie, MD, graduated in 1998 with a certificate in General Ornamental Horticulture and spends his days working for the National Park Service. Rightnour loves being able to access the White House. Very few people have that opportunity.

IAA Director, Glori Hyman remembers Rightnour as a student. “Jason was always interested in greenhouses. When I had him in the Written Communication class, he was working at Behnke’s and he wrote a nice proposal on replacing the greenhouse films. I enjoyed having him in class.”

Rightnour says that if he had to identify one course he enjoyed most at the IAA, it was Woody Ornamentals. “I really liked walking around campus identifying plants,” he said fondly.

Now married and the father of two, Rightnour offers this advice for students interested in pursuing a career in horticulture: find a government job. “There are so many great government jobs out there you can work at and apply your major!” he exclaimed.

He also urges students to continue their education after graduating from the IAA. “Get the four-year degree. It presents so many opportunities.”

As we celebrate our 50th year, the IAA will shine a weekly spotlight on one of our distinguished alumni. Remember to save the date for our 50th Anniversary Gala on May 14th at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

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