The university’s School of Agribusiness and Agriscience has some of the best students.
LEFT: MTSU junior Eric Limbird, left, and plant and soil science assistant professor Nate Phillips inspect strawberry crop. RIGHT: Senior Monica Adamson was one of 24 finalists in the USDA 2012 Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program.
Call it excellent upbringing. Call it rural backgrounds and strong work ethic. Call it a willingness to learn and to be taught. Or call it all the above.
Case in point: two current students, Eric Limbird and Monica Adamson.
The two nontraditional students moved to the head of the class, quickly gaining the attention and respect of their faculty mentors and School of Agribusiness and Agriscience Director Warren Gill.
Last fall, Limbird, a Nashville resident who has performed extensive research on rhododendrons in Roan Mountain near North Carolina and is student leader at the MTSU farm, was one of two students to be selected to receive the American Society for Horticulture Science Scholars Award ($1,500), the highest award given to students in the society. Limbird, other plant and soil science students and assistant professor Nate Phillips flew to Hawaii for the conference, where the award was presented and where the students received second- and third-place team awards.
From Feb. 23-24, Adamson, who came to Murfreesboro from Oklahoma after retiring from the military, was one of 24 students chosen from 56 nominees (plus others prescreened by their college or university) to attend the USDA 2012 Agriculture Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program in Arlington, Va.
“It was a great opportunity for students to go,” said Adamson, who added that she believes she is the first from MTSU to be chosen to attend the USDA event and is appreciative of the recommendation efforts by Gill to land the opportunity.
“It was very challenging this year because the students were outstanding, as were their essays,” said Brenda Chapin, forum coordinator in the USDA Office of the Chief Economist. “Many of these students eventually go to work for USDA.”
Adamson is a student worker at the MTSU Dairy off Guy James Road.
“Our main function is to make sure the cows are milked at a specific time every day,” she said. “We also make sure the cows are kept healthy by observing them, and if we see anything unusual we let the manager, Jason Tanner, or assistant manager Ralph Harrison know so they can tend to them.”
Limbird called his award “an accomplishment not only for myself, but for MTSU’s horticulture program. It’s a national award for me, but it’s for my work here. I felt pride that the work I’ve done had been highlighted for the award. The program has accomplished a lot and grown with Dr. Phillips’ tenure as a professor.”
Randy Weiler works in the MTSU Office of News and Media Relations as a media specialist. He can be reached at Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu.