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ISU senior horticulture major Eric Pitzen was recently honored as national intern of the year for the greenhouse industry. Photo by Bob Elbert
Eric Pitzen, Horticulture (515) 450-9126, email@example.com
Richard Gladon, Horticulture (515) 294-1957, firstname.lastname@example.org
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ISU horticulture student earns national intern award
AMES, Iowa -- After working four undergraduate horticulture internships, it's safe to say that Eric Pitzen isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. And that kind of effort made the Iowa State University senior a clean winner of the Greenhouse Product News/Nexus Intern Scholarship, annually awarded to the national intern of the year for the greenhouse industry.
As recipient of the award, Pitzen -- a horticulture major from Stacyville, Iowa -- was featured in the cover story of the January 2008 issue of Greenhouse Product News magazine.
"I was very pleased and excited, but it did not sink in until a few days after receiving word that I had won," Pitzen said. "The award was a good way to finish my college career and the hard work and dedication that I had put into the past four years."
To be considered for the award, Pitzen had to be enrolled as a full-time horticulture student at a four-year university, complete an internship and submit a 1,000-word essay.
As an ISU freshman in the fall of 2003, Pitzen received some sound advice from his advisor, Richard Gladon. Gladon, an associate professor of horticulture at ISU, stressed the importance of internships.
"I told him if he wanted to prepare himself for the future, he needed to look for internships," Gladon said. "He took the initiative to get to know me as his advisor, and he took the advice to heart. He is a bright and dedicated student with a terrific work ethic."
While Pitzen's first two internships provided extensive learning opportunities, the third one (with C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, Mich.) gave him a chance to apply his newfound knowledge. Due to a sudden staff shortage, Pitzen was promoted to interim grower. As a full-time grower in charge of a propagation area, he embraced the increased level of responsibility.
"I was excited to have the opportunity to perform in the field as a full-time employee," Pitzen said. "I got the chance to apply what I had learned at Iowa State and in previous internships."
His second internship with Ball Horticultural in West Chicago, Ill., provided a lead to his final internship with Tagawa Greenhouses Enterprises in Brighton, Colo. At Tagawa, Pitzen gained more perspective on all aspects of the business including inventory, plant production and seeding.
Even after his education at ISU and the knowledge gained from his internships, Pitzen has his grandmother and family vegetable garden to thank for his hard work ethic and first interest in the field of horticulture.
"Grandma and I could always talk about plants. She taught me so much in the beginning and now it's my chance to teach her," said Pitzen.
As his senior year comes to an end, Pitzen is anxious and excited to pursue a career in the horticulture field. With an emphasis in greenhouse production and management, he is interested in new product development and breeder relations in order to introduce new plants and improve product species.
Pitzen is the son of Ronnie and Becky Pitzen of Stacyville and a 2003 graduate of St. Ansgar High School.
Pitzen on the cover of Greenhouse Product News magazine.
Eric Pitzen, a senior horticulture major at ISU, recently was awarded the Greenhouse Product News/Nexus Intern Scholarship, annually awarded to the national intern of the year for the greenhouse industry. As recipient of the award, Pitzen was featured in the cover story of the January 2008 issue of Greenhouse Product News magazine.
"Grandma and I could always talk about plants. She taught me so much in the beginning and now it's my chance to teach her."