Tyler Gilson attributes his educational success to the Student Horticulture Association
Tyler Gilson's love for landscaping was inspired by his father which led him to study as a Horticulture B.S. student today
This featured student is a Horticulture B.S. degree student: Tyler Gilson. His hometown is Deerfield, Michigan and his degree concentration is Landscape Design, Construction and Management. His advisors are Susan Gruber and Bob Schutzki. We asked Tyler a few questions about himself:
Why did you choose this major and concentration?
I've been involved with plants and landscaping ever since I can remember. My uncle owns a small garden center in Holland, Ohio called Nature's Corner and my dad has worked for him since 1985, so whenever I had the chance I would go down and help out. My first vivid horticultural memory is of selling my first Endless Summer Hydrangea. I was eight years old and everyone else was busy, so I showed a customer around the lot and asked what she was looking for and what kind of exposure the plant would have, and an Endless Summer Hydrangea was the perfect plant for the spot. After that, I fell in love with selling plants to homeowners and giving them a landscape that they could enjoy for years to come. I began working for my uncle full time during college summers and I had the opportunity to design and install a few landscapes and that became my new passion. I knew that if I was able to design and install landscapes that I could change people's lives and give them extra space to enjoy outside of their home. I also knew that if I was able to design landscapes I would be able to positively affect the environment by creating sustainable and eco-friendly landscapes.
What are your future plans?
Upon graduation (May 2018) I have a job at Canopy Landscapes in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I will be working as a crew member installing landscapes and hardscapes and I will also be designing and bidding some installation jobs. Eventually I would like to buy my uncle's garden center and continue the legacy that he, his co-owner, and my father have created.
What or who inspired your interest in your program?
I would be remiss to say that anyone besides my father inspired my interest in landscaping. We installed our first landscape when I was nine years old for a local carpenter, and since then he has taught me everything he can think of about the Green Industry. I couldn't be more thankful for having a role model like him pushing me to be the best professional I can be.
What has been the best experience in your major so far?
As I'm getting ready to graduate in a few weeks, I can definitively say that the Student Horticulture Association (SHA) has been the best part of my collegiate career. This is the third year I have been a member, and I can say that I owe any success I've had since I've been at MSU directly to the SHA. I would not have been able to attend trade shows or gain any of the contacts I have without it. Through the SHA, I have been able to travel to Louisville, KY twice to attend the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) Landscapes Expo, to Mississippi State University, Brigham Young University-Provo, and Alamance Community College to compete in NALP's National Collegiate Landscape Competition and have been able to make priceless industry connections along the way. Through SHA I was also able to meet one of my best friends and go on a semester long study abroad to Northern Ireland with him. Without SHA I wouldn't have known about any of these opportunities and I would have missed out on all of these experiences.
Why did you choose Horticulture?
I chose Horticulture because it is what I've known all of my life, and I knew coming into MSU that it would give me the best chance to succeed upon graduation.
What is the best selling point about your major that you would like others to know?
The best selling point about majoring in Horticulture would have to be a combination of the professors and opportunities we receive upon graduation. There aren't too many majors where graduates could be offered upwards of five jobs in five very different locations. We also wouldn't receive these offers if it weren't for the connections we are able to create with faculty members. Our faculty members are outstanding at staying in contact with graduates and that creates boundless opportunities for internships and full-time employment upon graduation from our Department.