We are kicking off our horticulture blog with a student spotlight! A few times a semester, we will highlight SFA Horticulture students that are passionate and will become the future face of the horticulture industry.
Hunter Walker will graduate in December 2017 with a degree in horticulture. Upon graduation, he will be moving to Oregon to work in the horticulture industry. We asked him a few questions about his time here at SFA.
- What made you decide to come to SFA? I was born in Lufkin but lived in Dallas my teenage years. I wanted to come back to the Pineywoods.
- Tell me about how you became interested in horticulture. My great-grandmother was a Native American, and we did gardening with her. My mother was also a gardener.
- What are your career goals? The end goal is to be a garden writer. I want to work in greenhouse management. I really feel at home in the greenhouse. I want to work with perennials.
- Tell me about any research and/or projects you are currently doing. I am currently working with Dr. Jared Barnes on renovating the SFA Horticulture shade house. This [project] involves improving our nursery pad growing area and determining optimum plant spacing requirements. There is a focus on plant health, which is important.
- What is your favorite plant today and why? Prunella vulgaris (all heal). It is grown everywhere and has been used for thousands of years. I really like herbalism. I also like resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides). It is hard to pick a favorite!
- What other organizations are you involved with at SFA or in the community? I am the Captain of the Fencing Club, and I helped start Historical European Martial Arts, the sister club to the Fencing Club. It creates a good outlet for building focus and discipline.
- What were the most useful skills you learned at SFA for your future horticulture career? People will get hands on learning at SFA. With the SFA horticulture program, I've learned to harness skills previously unknown to me such as team management, propagation of plants, fertilization techniques, and more that will certainly carry on into my future career. SFA is going to be more and more recognized in the horticulture industry. ... People in other states recognize SFA as a horticulture school. Students from out of state should want to come here for a degree in horticulture.
- What do you like best about Nacogdoches? The small town feel and the close friends I have made. I will really miss them when I leave.
- What is one piece of advice you would give prospective students? Stay focused, have a set goal, and don't give up.
- What has been your favorite thing about your time here at SFA? I have enjoyed being a student worker. I worked in the gardens for more than three years as a greenhouse manager. I got hands-on experience that really helped my resume when job searching. The employers liked that I had actual experience using my degree. I also enjoyed meeting important people in the industry while at SFA like Dr. Jared, Gregg Grant, and Dawn Stover.
- Interview by Brittnie Barton