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UConn Graduate Takes Knowledge to Hawaii 

By Thomas Barry

I graduated from the University of Connecticut’s turfgrass science program with a Master of Science degree in December of 2006. Upon graduating, I took the position of Assistant Superintendent at Elleair Maui Golf Club in Kihei, Hawaii working under Head Superintendent, Bryan Taylor. Elleair is an 18 hole public golf course currently undergoing some major renovations to the design and layout with an ongoing attempt to improve its reputation. My experience working in Hawaii has been a positive one and I owe much of my success to the University of Connecticut. The turfgrass science program at the University of Connecticut is geared towards producing well-rounded students. Emphasis is placed on both classroom education and field experience. Internships are considered extremely important by the turfgrass faculty and every student is assisted with finding the right internship for their interests. Students are encouraged to aim high and follow their passion when finding a job upon graduation.

As a graduate student in the program, I was given the chance to teach the Introductory Turfgrass Science course and also serve as a Turfgrass Technician at the University’s research farm, assisting faculty members with research projects. The transition from student to Assistant Superintendent has been a smooth one on account of my educational experience at the University of Connecticut. The field experience I gained through internships and classroom education has certainly made me a more qualified and confident turf manager. I have moved from working with cool-season grasses to an all bermudagrass golf course with little difficulty. Management skills and business savvy I acquired at UConn have been vital to decision making and crew supervision which I encounter every day. The personal relationships I made during my time at the University of Connecticut have made me a better individual. I owe a debt of gratitude to the program and the great individuals who helped me along the way.
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