By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs
Summertime brings with it warm weather, farmers markets, harvest season, weekends spent at the lake, and relaxation. Many students at WSU take their last final of the semester and jet away for study abroad trips, family vacations, and jobs so they can make extra money for the upcoming school year. It’s a season that we eagerly await. CAHNRS students indulge in summer festivities and take time to recharge after a long school year, but they also work to better themselves through internships and job shadowing experiences.
A senior studying Turfgrass Management, Devan Harke, dedicated his summer to working as an intern at the Round Hill Club, a private golf course, in Greenwich, Connecticut. There are over 15,000 golf courses in the United States and each one needs trained professionals like Devan to maintain their grounds. Golf course management is much more intensive than one might assume, and this summer Devan works to ensure that the course is always looking its best. His responsibilities include course setup, leading small crews in tasks around the course, spraying fertilizers/pesticides on greens, and hand watering tees and fairways as needed.
Devan says that this internship is challenging him in two ways: testing his practical skills in turfgrass management and enhancing his group work skills. The beauty of internships is that you not only get to practice the things you learn from your classes but you also build valuable people skills in the process. “I have been told by supervisors here that maintaining the course is the easiest part of the job and that managing the crew, budgeting, and scheduling is the tough part.”
This is Devan’s first internship and says that the experience has been invaluable to him. “I have gained so much work experience in the short time I have been here. From managing people to preventative pest practices to managing the stress on the turf.” After spending time on this internship Devan is confident that he has made the right career choice. He hopes that the connections he is making now will lead to more opportunities down the road.
Academic advisors are excellent resources on campus, especially when it comes to finding internships. Devan was forwarded the application to Round Hill Club via his advisor, which ultimately led to an interview and a job as an intern with the golf course. While students’ inboxes are filled with emails, it’s important to remember that opportunities may be overlooked if you don’t take care in investing the time to read them and apply to the internships announced through your email.
Devan’s favorite part of his summer job is that he gets to work outside every day and be surrounded by a sport that he loves. “Those are the two reason I decided to follow this career path, and it has proved to be a positive decision.”