Alum of the Month: Bruce Black, Extension Educator, Horticulture University of Illinois Extension

Bruce Black graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture in May 2013.  Bruce is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Bruce’s primary responsibilities are to provide research-based educational programs about horticulture and agriculture and natural resources to Carroll, Lee, and Whiteside Counties.  Along with the Horticulture Team, they provide educational programs statewide and train the Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers.  His primary areas of expertise are in fruits, vegetables, plant propagation, and youth community garden education.  Lastly, Bruce writes a minimum of eight articles a year for various Extension and news media sources.

We asked Bruce what he likes most about his position.  The things I like most about my position are that I  am constantly learning new things.  Being a community and state expert, every day brings a new challenge or a new question to research and answer.
I also love the variety of people I get to interact and teach.  I can start my day teaching elementary school youth in a community garden or teaching middle school agriculture students about the different areas of horticulture, then end my day teaching college students about the principals of ornamental horticulture or adults and retirees about pruning trees or creating succulent wreaths.

Following is the advice Bruce offers to current students:  Step outside of your comfort zone and face your nerves.  Don’t be completely focused on your emphasis.  Life may take you somewhere that requires you to have a diversified horticultural knowledge such as Extension.  You are capable of more than you think you are.  Lastly, no matter how hard a situation may seem or when others tell you, “you can’t”.  Prove them wrong:  “Persist longer than they resist!”