Alum of the Month: Lindsey Smith, Plant Collection Curator at Reiman Gardens (3 days/week) and Wholesale Sales Representative at Bentley Ridge Tree Farm (2 days/week)

Lindsey Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture with an emphasis on Public Gardens in 2013.  Lindsey is from Ankeny, Iowa.

Lindsey’s major job responsibilities at Reiman Gardens is cataloging and mapping 4,000 accessioned plants, verifying plant identities, virus testing of the Nationally Accredited Buck Rose Collection, and creating educational programming and interpretation related to the Collection.  At Bentley Ridge Tree Farm Lindsey assists the Wholesale Manager by monitoring inventory, answering phone calls and emails, and coordinating orders with customers and their growers.

We asked Lindsey what she likes most about her jobs.  The wide variety of work I get to do between and within these two jobs has really allowed me to test the boundaries of my comfort zone and grow as a person.  At Reiman Gardens I work with academic databases and a stable inventory of plants, I work with volunteers and student workers, and when I talk to visitors I get to act as an ‘expert’.  At Bentley Ridge Tree Farm, I work with an ever changing inventory and a variety of machines to move this inventory around, I work with people who own businesses, and I act as one part in a large supply chain.  I love both jobs, and I love the differences between them, it lets me get a more complete picture of how plants are used and what is valued by different groups of people.

Following is the advice Lindsey offers to current students:  Try everything.  Take classes that aren’t part of your emphasis, try to find a summer job or part-time school year job in Horticulture that isn’t exactly what you want to do.  The Horticulture Research Farm, Reiman Gardens, or one of the research greenhouses on campus are great examples in Ames – even if you are focusing on turf or design.  Keep doors open and keep trying to push the boundaries of what you can do.  You might be surprised where you end up.