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Five UT students selected for the prestigious Herbert Scholars Program
By Lisa Stearns,

KNOXVILLE ― Five students with the University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources are set to spend the summer engaged in transformative experiential learning opportunities. Mae Allen, Benjamin Cruz, Rhys Fielder, Cassidy Giles and Robert Sears have been selected as the 2018 Herbert Scholars. These students will receive financial assistance to participate in unique hands-on, extended learning experiences around the globe.

“Herbert Scholars use their summer experiences to lay a strong foundation for future success as leaders in the agricultural and natural resources industry as well as preparation for the world of agribusiness,” says Caula Beyl, dean of the college.

Established by Jim and Judi Herbert, both alumni of the University of Tennessee, these scholarships are designed to give the selected students real world experiences in prestigious agricultural-related businesses.

Meet this year’s recipients:

Mae Allen is a junior majoring in animal science with a concentration in animal industries, and pursuing a minor in business administration. In a learning position with the Tractor Supply Company, she will be assigned weekly projects within the company’s e-commerce section. The internship is expected to be both highly involved and interactive. Upon graduation, Mae’s goal is to immediately launch into a career with an agri-business company.

Benjamin Cruz is a biosystems engineering major in his junior year of study. As a Herbert Scholar, he will be able to engage in two summer enrichment activities. He will return to his work with a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory engaged in research on quantum computing and solutions, including the development of advanced software that informs users of its security, reliability, and maintainability. He will also participate in a summer abroad program at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, to expand his understanding of bioenergy solutions related to his research in biomass thermochemical conversion, which uses plants as fuel and energy resources.

Rhys Fielder is a junior in plant sciences – turfgrass science and management, with a minor in business. His internship will take him to the practice facility of the New York Football Club, where he will learn how to maintain soccer fields for the community player, as well as at the highest level of competition. These fields challenge turf managers because they require greater precision in a smaller area than many performance fields. This learning opportunity will also provide him with direct understanding of being a turfgrass manager in a large urban market. He sees both experiences giving him a high level of confidence in his knowledge and skills as he prepares to become a sports turf manager.

Cassidy Giles is a junior majoring in plant sciences in the landscape design concentration. Her minor is business administration. Cassidy’s learning site will be the landscape design • build company, Carolina Landscape of Charleston, South Carolina. There, she will complete site analyses and conceptual plan designs using hand rendering, AutoCAD drawings, and 3D models. Cassidy’s duties also include creating construction documents, installing landscapes, marketing the company through social media, and meeting with potential and current clients. She says she’s looking forward to learning the ins and outs of a landscape design • build company. The perspective she gains as a member of the firm and as its representative to clients and on projects will provide just that.

Robert Sears is a plant sciences major in the biotechnology concentration, with a minor in environmental and soil science. He is a CASNR senior. His learning site will be at Neogen Corporationin Lansing, Michigan. Robert’s experience will enable him to work with Neogen’s Molecular R&D Division on kits to detect a variety of genetic elements in animals and food pathogens. Some of this work will be under direct supervision, and other elements of it will be conducted on his own. Each, Robert says, will advance his skills as a researcher and independent worker. Through this learning experience, Robert says he hopes to gain an appreciation for how science and biotechnology are applied in industry to create useful and accurate products.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service.

Published May 26, 2018

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