March 14, 2024

This winter, Stockbridge sent 11 students to two national competitions sponsored by professional organizations in the turfgrass industry.  There, they had the chance to network with alumni, many of whom are now employers seeking Stockbridge talent.  Students also got to competitively demonstrate the knowledge they developed at Stockbridge.

BOTH COMPETITIONS TEST STUDENT TEAMS ON QUESTIONS OF GRASS AND PEST IDENTIFICATION, SOIL FERTILITY AND PLANT NUTRITION PROPERTIES, SUSTAINABLE WATER CONSERVATION PRACTICES, INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM), AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. 

Stockbridge School of Agriculture has some of the most supportive alumni we've ever seen.  Not only are they enthusiastic, wearing on-the-job apparel from our Stockbridge Webstore, but they also provide internship and other professional opportunities to current students.  In some cases, they do even more to give their best to "Dear Old Stockbridge."

The Alumni Turf Group, industry sponsor Vermont Greenscapes Association, and several individual Stockbridge alumni, provided substantial donations to enable 11 current students to attend two national events and compete against other college teams. 

Four students standing next to the SFMA 35th Conference sign.

Students prepared for these competitions throughout the Fall semester, under the guidance of Stockbridge instructor Marvin Seaman (M.S. Plant & Soil Sciences '15).  In anticipation of the trips, students also raised money during the Fall, doing leaf cleanups for UMass faculty and staff in the Amherst area.

In January, Stockbridge sent 7 of our UMass Turf Club students to fairer weather at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) national conference in Phoenix, AZ.  Four of these students, Patrick Armstrong (B.S. ‘24), Harrison Culhane (B.B.A ‘23; B.S. ‘24), Will Morris (A.S. ‘24), and Jacob Zeliger (B.S. ‘25) formed a team that placed 3rd in the Turf Bowl knowledge competition. 

THIS YEAR MARKED A BIG RETURN TO THE UPPER RANKS OF THE TURF BOWL FOR US, AS THE COMPETITION WAS POSTPONED DURING THE PANDEMIC.  THE TEAM ALSO BROUGHT HOME A $1000 PRIZE CHECK THAT WILL SUPPORT OUR STOCKBRIDGE TURFGRASS PROGRAMS.

The other UMass team competing at the GCSAA Turf Bowl competition included students Matt Gillis (A.S. ‘24), Lucas Melanson (A.S. ‘22; B.S. ‘24), and Colby Soltysik (B.S. ‘25).

Four students discussing and examining small potted plants.

For the first time in several years, Stockbridge also sent 4 students to Daytona, FL, to compete in the Student Challenge of the Sports Field Management Association (SFMA) national conference.  Carson Brean (B.S. ‘25), Jack Collins (A.S. ‘25), Jack Greeley (B.S. ‘25), and Ryan Malloy (B.S. ‘26) enjoyed a tropical alternative to our New England winters, while putting their heads together as a team.

Stockbridge students benefit not only from our internship program, but also a robust array of research opportunities courtesy of the Joseph Troll Turfgrass Research Center, the longest running turfgrass research facility in the country, just minutes from the UMass Amherst campus.

STUDENTS IN DAYTONA NETWORKED AND TOOK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FROM STOCKBRIDGE ALUMNI SUCCESSFULLY WORKING IN THE TURFGRASS AND FIELD MANAGEMENT INDUSTRIES.

From left to right, Jason Griffeth (A.S. Turfgrass Management '03; B.S. Plant & Soil Sciences '04) is the Grounds Supervisor for Daytona International Speedway; Brad Finn (A.S. Turfgrass Management '13) in red is Assistant Athletics Director for Grounds, Facilities & Events., University of Houston, TX.  On the right of our 4 students is Ryan Bjorn (A.S. Turfgrass Management '18), who is the Field Superintendent at Gillette Stadium.

A group picture with the SFMA team in front of alternating black and white curtains.

Our students are very thankful to the open support of the Stockbridge alumni community.  The opportunities afforded to Stockbridge students are part of what makes us the #1 turfgrass science program in New England.