College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

And the Winner Is…

Author: 
Meredith Epstein
Snell's winning photo!
Image Credit: 
Ryan Snell

Whether it’s entertaining pups in doggie daycare, processing hundreds of tons of seed, or maintaining a golf course in Alaska, IAA students are up to interesting things every summer. And what better way share the stories of these exciting internships than through pictures? This is what inspired Christina Lorenz, Student Services Coordinator at the IAA, to hold an internship photo contest this semester.

Students who completed their required internships during Summer 2014 could choose one photo to submit to the contest, which was held on Facebook. From September 2 to September 15, 2014, the public voted by “liking” their favorite image. And the prize? The owner of the photo with the most "likes" by 9 a.m. on September 15th received a scholarship for $100 and lunch for him and a friend with the IAA Director, Glori Hyman.

Congratulations to the 2014 Internship Photo Contest winner, Ryan Snell!

The winning photo features Snell, now in his second year as a Landscape Management major, topped off with a bundle of Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus,' more commonly known as Zebra Grass. “I had never encountered this grass before and was dazzled by its lush, variegated foliage,” said Snell. “I thought to myself, this grass would make a really cool head-dress...luckily I had a belt on!” Ninety-five individuals cast their ballots, and Ryan won out of six entries with 65% of the vote.

Snell spent his summer working at Kurt Bluemel, Inc. in Baldwin, Maryland. As he described, “It's a 50 acre production farm that grows a large variety of ornamental grasses, ferns, rushes, sedges, perennials, bamboos and other exotic nursery materials. Kurt Bluemel was known internationally as the father of ornamental grass due to his knowledge and passion with plants and his acute competence in the field of ornamental grasses (propagation and cultivation).”

Snell continued, “Unfortunately, Mr. Bluemel passed away within my first week of working there and I only met him once. But it was still very neat to experience the legacy that he left behind in his employees.”

Not only could current students share their internship stories with each other on Facebook, but “I thought it would be really cool for prospective students and other peers to see what IAA students are doing to gain real world experience,” said Lorenz. She hopes that by sharing these photos on social media, the Institute will gain more exposure, reaching people who might become interested in applying to one of our programs. Introducing some friendly competition helped encourage our students to “share” the photos, spreading the IAA’s reach on Facebook. The Internship Photo Contest album generated 98% more engagement than anything the Institute has posted on Facebook before!

Snell is “ecstatic to have the pleasure of a date” with IAA Director Glori Hyman. The two will have the opportunity to share a meal with Ryan’s guest of choice: his father, an alum of the IAA.  

Christina Lorenz presents student Ryan Snell with his award for winning the 2014 Internship Photo Contest. 

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