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Student Education & Career Day
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Sunday, August 9

Thursday, August 13

2 - 6 p.m.  

2020 Student Education & Career Day

20/20: Seeing Your Professional Future Coming into Focus

Open to all Registered Conference Attendees at NO Charge

Pre-Registration is Required


This seminar will be held on August 13, 2020 as part of the 2020 ASHS Annual Conference.

The session will be aimed for students (undergraduate, graduates) and new academic professionals (postdocs, faculty) with less than 3-5 years of experience, new commercial professionals with less than 3-5 years of experience.  However, anyone can attend. 

You can select the seminar when you register for the conference.  If you have already registered for the conference and would now like to add it, please click here. 


20/20: Seeing Your Professional Future Coming into Focus


Tentative Agenda (subject to change)

2:00 PM - 3:45 PM: GENERAL SESSION – Seeing a Career Vision


2:00-2:10 Welcome.  Curt Rom

Curt Rom is a University Professor of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas with specialization in fruit crops and sustainable and organic production systems. He leads the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative. He has been an ASHS member for 38 years and is a Fellow of the Society, past President, past Treasurer, and past Vice President. He currently is the Associate Dean for International Education in the Graduate School and International Education and serves as the university’s senior international officer.

Introduction to the Session: Kent Kobayashi and Kauahi Perez

2:10-2:35---Seeing Yourself in the Mirror and How Others See You: M'Randa Sandlin

M’Randa Sandlin is the owner of Sandlin Consulting based in Forsyth, Georgia. She provides leadership and professional development services to individuals, groups, and organizations. She is certified to administer and interpret the DISC Leadership and Management Profile, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI), and UF Critical Thinking Inventory. Sandlin Consulting also provides research and program/grant evaluation services for university programs. Dr. Sandlin serves as an Adjunct Instructor of Agriscience Education in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Auburn University. Prior to her current endeavors, she was an Assistant Researcher of Public Issues Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa from 2014-2019. She earned her MS and PhD in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications from Texas A&M University.

2:35-3:00---Building Your Personal BrandBrian Jackson

Brian Jackson is an Associate Professor at NC State University and Director of the Horticultural Substrates Laboratory. Brian holds an 85% Teaching and 15% Research appointment in the Department of Horticultural Science where he has been since 2009. Brian's research program focuses on the development, characterization, and utilization of organic soilless substrates in horticultural crop production with a special emphasis on the engineering and development of wood fiber substrate components. Having worked, traveled, and studied in over 50 countries on six continents, Brian maintains an extensive national and international professional network that he uses to facilitate collaborations and build research partnerships for the promotion and advancement of Substrate Science and Soilless Culture.

3:00-3:25---Planning for Your Future: Determining Your Long-Term Goals, Finding Mentors, Gaining Experience While Still in SchoolBrian Pearson

Brian Pearson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida (UF). After earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UF, Brian joined UF’s Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (Apopka) as a faculty member with a programmatic focus on medicinal and beverage crops. Brian’s recent research efforts have focused on the influence of production and post-harvest factors on growth and quality of hops, hemp, skullcap, and butterfly pea. Brian’s passion for teaching has resulted in development of effective distance-education tools and online instructional methodology. Brian works closely with students to help them maximize educational opportunities and attain their personal and professional goals.

2:25-2:45---Panel Discussion.  General Q&A

4:45-4:50---Wrap up:   Kent Kobayashi and Kauahi Perez

Thank you and Next Steps: Curt Rom

3:50-4:00---Audience members mingle and meet with the individual speakers.

3:45-4:00: Highlights of the Career Concurrent Break-out Sessions

  1. Careers in the Academia:
  2. Careers in Extension and Outreach: Julie Campbell
  3. Careers in Industry and Entrepreneurship:

Networking refreshment break

4:15 PM - 6:15 PM (Split into 3 tracks)

Track 1 – Academic Careers

4:15-4:20---Introduction: Rebecca Grumet, David Kopsell

4:20-5:05---Part I. How to prepare for academic careers?

4:20-4:50---What is important, how to build a portfolio, how to build a program, considerations in job search

A. Teaching.   David Kopsell

David Kopsell is an Assistant Chairperson and Professor of Horticulture in the Agriculture Department at Illinois State University. He has taught 16 different courses in horticulture and agriculture at the college level and has received over 20 teaching awards including the 2015 ASHS Outstanding Undergraduate Educator Award.

B. Research.  Roberto Lopez

C. Extension/Outreach. Natalie Bumgarner

4:50-5:05---Panel discussion – questions from participants

5:05-5:30---Part II. Individual Development Plans (IDP).  Rebecca Grumet

5:05-5:20---Participants introduce themselves

Fill out IDP worksheet

5:20-5:30---Discuss goals with participants in pairs or small groups

5:30-6:15---Part III. Other aspects of becoming a faculty member

5:30-6:00 ---A. What to consider when negotiating a starting position? Vance Baird

---B. Departmental citizenship, service: Dean Kopsell

Dean Kopsell is Professor and Chair of the Environmental Horticulture Department at the University of Florida. Dr. Kopsell received a BS degree in Agribusiness – Horticulture in 1992 from Illinois State University. He received his MS degree in 1995 and his Ph.D. in 1999 from the Horticulture Department at the University of Georgia. Previously, Dr. Kopsell has been a faculty member at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Tennessee. He specializes in the areas of plant nutrition and plant improvement of specialty horticultural crops. Dr. Kopsell has taught courses in introductory horticulture, plant soils relations, plant nutrition, and professional development to undergraduate and graduate students.

---C. Mentoring (for you and for your students/post-docs)

6:00-6:15---Open discussion – questions and impressions about academic careers


Track 2 – Extension, Consulting, Outreach Careers

4:15-4:30---Welcome to the Extension and Outreach Education World:Julie Campbell

4:30–4:50---Like People, Love Plants?  Consider a Career in Extension! Hannah Wooten

Did you know that almost every county in every state has an Extension Agent with horticultural expertise? Do you know what Extension is? Extension is the arm of the land grant university system that specializes in learning science based information from researchers, and then teaching that science to local clientele. Extension careers are exciting and rewarding, especially if you love to teach people about scientific applications to increase economic, environmental, and social sustainability in their personal and professional lives. I will share how I got my foot in the door, and pros, cons, and considerations for your career in horticulture!

4:50–5:10---Building an Extension Program from the Ground Up:Amanda McWhirt

5:10-5:30---Lessons Learned After 14 Years on the Road: Matthew Chappell

Extension, unlike teaching or research activities, is a constantly moving target. The question is, how do you navigate the constant barrage of emails, phone calls, programs, grant/project requests, and site visits while concurrently building a emphasis area (and associated national reputation)? It isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds, yet it takes consistent re-focusing to develop your personal brand. This brief presentation will focus on those things that I had to learn for myself, such as defining and building your personal brand, and how your career trajectory can change once you develop a clearly defined path toward success.

5:30-5:50---Professional Expectations for the New Extension Specialist: Rolston St. Hilaire

Extension specialists are expected to provide research‐based information to their clientele. The information provided should improve their client’s quality of life while having broader beneficial societal impacts. Administrators seek to hire the Extension professionals that will best deliver research-based information to their clientele. In this presentation, I will share some of the factors that influence who gets hired to join an existing team of Extension specialists.

5:50-6:10---Panel Discussion and Q/A

6:10-6:15---Wrap-up:  Julie Campbell


Track 3 – Industry and Entrepreneurship

4:15-4:25---Introduction: Curt Rom and Shufang Tian

4:25–4:40---A World of Opportunities: Marvin Miller

Dr. Marvin N. Miller will speak about the many career opportunities available for folks trained in horticulture. The story certainly includes academia and both public and private research, but it goes well beyond that and encompasses much, much more.

4:40–4:55---International Opportunities: Laura Lara

4:55-5:10---Entrepreneurial Mindsets: Abundance, Optimism and Growth: Timothee Sallin

Exploring how mindsets shape outcomes in business. 21st century leaders are driving innovation, creating exponential value and managing risk with mindsets. How business leaders respond to adversity, obstacles, and setbacks is key to long term growth and success. In this presentation we will discuss how the growth mindset combined with optimism and abundance guide behaviors and decision making in business. We will discuss how to harness the power of mindsets at work and how to identify companies that have authentic corporate cultures where young leaders can thrive and contribute to strategic goals in a meaningful way.

5:10-5:25---Title to be confirmed: John Hoblick, AgriStarts

5:25-5:40---Product Development, Sales, R&D

5:40-6:15---Panel Discussion

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