College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

Sports Field of Dreams

Emily Weber

Take him out to the ballpark! University of Maryland Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) second-year, Sports Turf Management student Jesse Dietsch got the internship of a lifetime! Dietsch, 23-year-old, die-hard Nationals fan, had the opportunity to work with the best in the league, the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.  What baseball fanatic hasn’t dreamed of working for his favorite team?

Dietch decided that if he was going to study turfgrass, it was going to be sports related. Given his love of baseball, Dietsch decided to “go big or go home” for his internship experience through the IAA. He interviewed for the job last winter and was offered the position. Dietsch was lucky enough to have a light school schedule in the spring of 2014 and was able to start his internship in March.

When speaking to Dietsch, it is clear to tell that this experience was similar to being a child in a candy store for him. From the basics of taking care of the skin surfaces, the batter’s boxes and the pitcher’s mound to watering the soil and grass; Dietsch learned it all. He also maintained the warning track, which is made of crushed lava rock and can dry extremely fast. Dietsch says he learned some interesting manipulation techniques for the pitcher's mound, including the specific slope. He states that he worked with synthetic turf in the home bullpen whereas the visitors was all natural and used as a sod farm for the field. However, as any other National’s fan would tell you, his favorite part was taking part of the game days.

He is hoping at the end of the 2014 season to be offered a full-time position.

The IAA was happy to facilitate this dream internship for Dietsch. The IAA is a great hands-on college program for individuals who would like to work in sports turf, golf course management, agricultural business or sustainable agriculture.  For more information on the Institute of Applied agriculture's programs, please go to

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