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Student Success Stories - Hannah Yovino

Hannah YovinoHometown:
Tenants Harbor, Maine

Year in school, major and concentration:
Senior studying environmental horticulture with a concentration in landscape design

Highlights of your achievements, awards and past-times at UMaine:
Received the New England Farm and Garden Association Scholarship Fund/Margaret McKee Gerrity Scholarship and the Robert and Catherine Barrett Environmental Horticulture Scholarship. I am an active participant in the Horticulture Club and play intramural soccer.

Tell us about your summer 2011 internship at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.:
I started my internship in the Gotelli Dwarf and Slow-Growing Conifer Collection at the National Arboretum in late May and went through mid-August. In the collection I did a lot of typical maintenance like weeding and pruning, plus lots and lots of watering. I was also involved in propagating some of the conifers. The arboretum is constantly changing. I helped with some of the inventory of the collection to allow it to be completely accurate and current in its signage. This internship also included fieldtrips to the United States Botanic Gardens, Nemours Mansion, Blandy Experimental Farm/State Arboretum of Virginia, the Capitol, Supreme Court, White House and many other places in the D.C. area. A large part of this internship was a group project with other interns who worked in the collections. We had to redesign the area in front of the arboretum’s headhouse and, at the end of our internship, give a presentation about our design and experience.

How did this experience, working at the 446-acre arboretum with its many gardens featuring plant and tree collections, inform your perspective on horticulture?
Before my internship at the arboretum, I only had experienced landscaping and your typical gardening. I wanted to learn more about plants, especially those not typically found in New England. The arboretum was a great place to learn about plants I have never seen before, including those plants that have not been released to the public.

Did you visit or do any work at the arboretum’s research facilities in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Tennessee?
The research facilities in Washington, D.C. are actually on the arboretum’s grounds. I got to learn about the different types of research and how they actually carried out the work. The propagation research intern and I did a lot of work together on different conifers from the collection. I was also able to visit and learn a lot about the research facilities in Maryland.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from your National Arboretum internship and mentoring with horticulturist Mariya Navazio?
I learned that there are so many different options in the field of horticulture. Mariya was an amazing supervisor. She allowed me to explore my interests in different parts of horticulture.

How did your UMaine training prepare you for the internship?
Before the internship I was a little nervous because I didn’t know how I would stack up to the other interns. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I knew from the courses I have taken at UMaine.

Why did you decide to study horticulture?
Growing up I used to watch my mom work in the gardens around my house. She would bring my brother and me to different nurseries, which I always thought was such a big treat. My family has been incredibly nature-based, which is probably why I became interested in horticulture.

What do you hope to do with your career?
My goal is to have a career in sustainable design. I would love to either design or do research on creating self-sustaining environments.

Why did you choose UMaine?
I chose UMaine because of the Environmental Horticulture Program and the design concentration.

Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better?
If so, who and how? My adviser, Stephanie Burnett, has definitely played a role in my experience at UMaine. She has been there to guide me through the horticulture program and my internship.

Where are you headed after you graduate from UMaine?
After graduation I will probably take a year off, then go to grad school for my master’s.

What is the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you’ve taken at UMaine?
Plant identification courses.

Favorite place on campus?
I always like to walk through the greenhouses, especially in the winter. It’s nice to see the green plants since the winters can be a little dreary here.

Most memorable UMaine moment?
Going to Illinois with other horticulture students for the PLANET competition.

Class that nearly did you in?
Plant Pathology

Advice for incoming students?
Get involved and take advantage of the opportunities the university provides.

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