College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Graduating Class of 2015

Gerald Powell

May 21 & 22, 2015 marked the campus-wide commencement for the University of Maryland and individual schools and colleges for graduating seniors. Among the hardworking and well-deserved graduates are the IAA graduates who have labored and toiled in and on hay, turf, soil, fields, greenhouses and many other imaginable surfaces. Prior to the commencement exercise, IAA faculty and staff congratulated the graduates at the University Golf Course Club House where they enjoyed a buffet lunch and shared stories and memorable moments in the program. The mood was sublime and relaxing, lacking any nervousness or uncertainty about the future.

Contrary to most graduations, the one topic I noticed that was hardly broached was: What are you doing after graduation? There’s a good reason it’s not a priority topic.  For the past 20 years, IAA students have enjoyed a 92% rate of job placement, and this year’s graduating class is no different. Unlike most graduates who will begin their summers scavenger-hunting for jobs in their major, most of the IAA graduates have already found and secured employment in their respective fields. This was the same message with which IAA Director Glori Hyman recruited the now graduates and echoed by distinguished IAA alumnus Mark Merrick, graduating class of 1985, who spoke about the importance of communication, education and risk aversion. Among the graduating class of 2015, our straw hats go off to:


Timothy Burkhart of Lusby, MD

Golf Course Management

Tim currently works at the Chesapeake Hills Golf Course and plans to stay in the area and eventually become an assistant golf course superintendent.  Tim interned at two different courses:  Woodholme Country Club in Pikesville, MD and Anchorage Golf Course in Anchorage, AK.  He participated in the 2013 Collegiate Turf Bowl competition and volunteered at the

Shields Memorial Golf Tournament.


Brian Dearstine of College Park, MD

Turfgrass Management

Brian is the Assistant Superintendent at the University of Maryland Golf Course.


Jesse Dietsch of Walkersville, MD

Sports Turf Management

Jesse interned with the Washington Nationals and continues to work with the grounds crew.  His goal is to secure a permanent position as a groundskeeper with a major league baseball team.  While attending the IAA, Jesse was involved with designing and installing an irrigation system for the IAA teaching garden.


Nick Harmer of Elkton, MD

General Ornamental Horticulture

Nick is continuing his education to pursue a Master's in Counseling Psychology with an interest in Green Therapy.   Nick was a recipient of the Dr. Ronald J. Seibel Scholarship.


Brian Hogan of Huntingtown, MD

Golf Course Management

Brian is the Assistant Superintendent at Argyle Country Club with an agreement to become the Superintendent after one year.  He was honored as the IAA’s outstanding student for 2015 at the AGNR Alumni Awards Program.   Brian was a member of the “Fab Four” team that won the 2014 Collegiate Turf Bowl Competition in Orlando, FL.  He was the recipient of 4 scholarships and a member of two first-place teams at the Sports Turf Managers Association student competition.


Collin Plumley of Mt. Airy, MD

Landscape Management

Collin transferred into UMD’s 4-year Landscape Management Program and expects to graduate with his degree in 2016.  He currently works for Bartlett Tree Experts.  Collin received the Dr. Ronald J. Seibel Scholarship and PGMS Scholarship.

Jake Reeves of Rising Sun, MD

Golf Course Management

Jake has secured a position at Nemacolin Woodlands Golf Resort in Farmington, PA, which he hopes will lead to a permanent position.  While attending the IAA, Jake was active in AGR fraternity and the IAA Alumni Tree planting ceremony.


When asked what they enjoyed the most and remembered about the IAA, the class of 2015 responses included the caring and dedicated faculty, the annual IAA Turkey Bowl,  and the practical experience gained from their internships.


As we send off our graduating class of 2015, we welcome our new class of 2017. We wish our newly minted graduates the very best in their endeavors and ecological pursuits in making the world more sustainable one seed at a time. Congratulations.

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