Intern of the Year: Getting Started

August 8, 2003 - 07:22

GPN and Nexus are looking for 2004's Intern of the Year. Are you that someone, or do you know someone who is?

Good employees are hard to find, or rather, hard-working,
knowledgeable employees are hard to find. When you do find them and hire them,
you want to reward them. While an intern may not be a permanent employee, they
typically work hard because this is what they want as their career.

An internship is a winning situation for many people. The
intern gains industry knowledge he or she could never receive in the classroom;
the employer acquires a hard-working hand at a minimal cost; the university or
college cements a satisfied and successful alumni who can attest to the
experience he or she has gained through the school; and the industry gains a
knowledgeable and experienced personality.

If you had a great intern this summer -- one you think
worthy of notice -- GPN and Nexus Corporation have the perfect way to reward
that hard-working up-and-comer. The winner will appear on the cover of GPN's
January 2004 issue and in a feature article about them and their experiences as
an intern. Oh yeah, did we mention the $3,000 scholarship check for the winner
and the $500 check for the runner up?

Winners

We've had some outstanding winners the past four years, and
with each passing year, the competition gets tougher and tougher. These young
women (yes, they have all been women, and this is a direct challenge to all the
male interns out there!) exhibit the qualities that every grower is searching
for in their employees -- loyalty, innovation, determination, knowledge, etc.
-- and we are proud to have sponsored them in their careers.

Jennifer Browne. The
2003 winner hailed from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. She completed her
internship with North Creek Nursery, Landenberg, Pa. Here is a quick excerpt
from Browne's winning essay: "The radio is turned to some R&B hip hop
station, and Junior, Poncho and I are in a potting rhythm: Make a hole in the
soil, tease the roots, stick in the plant, cover the roots. . .This is what
we've been doing all afternoon for the last couple of days and what we will
continue to do in the weeks to come so we can fill an order of 3,000
quart-sized plants placed by a single customer."

Janna Hogue. The
2002 winner came to us from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, and completed
her internship at Metrolina Greenhouses, Huntersville, N.C. In her essay, Hogue
explained what she gained from the internship: "My initial hope for my
internship was to work not only in different types of greenhouse structures
with numerous crops, but also with several growers. I am extremely pleased that
I was given that opportunity. Each grower taught me many special skills that I
will carry with me."

Sarah McQueen. The
winner of the 2001 scholarship graduated from Michigan State University, East
Lansing, Mich. McQueen carried out her internship at Andy Mast Greenhouse,
Grand Rapids, Mich. Though she had completed other internships previous to this
one, McQueen learned about large-scale production the year she was awarded the
intern scholarship. "My summer at Andy Mast Greenhouse was unique in that
it was the first time I saw how complicated and labor-intensive a large
wholesale greenhouse operation can be. Workers were busy all summer while I was
there, but the real busy season doesn't even start until November when
poinsettia shipping begins. . .Working in the commercial production sector really
emphasized the seasonal nature of the industry."

Melinda Froning. The
first GPN/Nexus Intern Scholarship, awarded in 2000, went to Froning, a
graduate of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn. Froning completed her
internship at Four Star Greenhouse, Carleton, Mich., and took the readers of
her essay through each facet of the internship. "I spent my first two
weeks in the shipping department. . .I then worked in customer service. . .I
then worked as a section grower in the poly houses. . .I enjoyed working in the
trial/research department because of the few people involved and the newness of
the work. . .Since I worked in so many different capacities, I closely observed
the relationships between departments, management and section growers. From this,
I realized the importance of communication and cooperation in a company."

Qualifications

Applications for the 5th Annual GPN/Nexus Intern Scholarship
are being accepted now through October 15, 2003.

To be considered, applicants must meet the following requirements:
enrollment in a 4-year, accredited university during the 2002-2003 and
2003-2004 school years; pursuit of an undergraduate degree in a branch of
floriculture; and internship in a production greenhouse during the summer of
2003. Applicants who meet these requirements should send a cover letter
requesting consideration for the scholarship and telling what university they
attend; a letter from their academic advisor recommending the applicant and
attesting to enrollment; and an essay that describes their intern experience,
including who they interned for and what their responsibilities were. Essays
will be assessed by a panel of judges on the quality of the experience,
knowledge gained and the applicant's ability to describe the experience.

All applications should be mailed to: GPN/Nexus Intern
Scholarship, c/o Bridget White, 380 E. Northwest Hwy., Suite 200, Des Plaines,
IL, 60016. Applications must be postmarked by October 15, 2003 to be
considered. For further information, contact Bridget White at (847) 391-1004 or
bwhite@sgcmail.com.

About The Author

Carrie Burns is associate editor and Bridget White is editorial director of GPN. They may be reached by phone at (847) 391-1019 or (847) 391-1004 or E-mail at cburns@sgcmail.com or bwhite@sgcmail.com.

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