Environmental Science and Management
Plant Propagation and Nursery Management co-coordinator, 2020-22
Habitat Horticulture intern, 2019-20
I found the Learning by Leading™ (LxL) program through an Instagram post at the very end of my freshman year. At the time I was still unsure of which direction I wanted to take in terms of my studies. That first year in the LxL program as a Habitat Horticulture intern helped me realize that I love working outdoors. I found satisfaction in the idea that my work was directly making a difference in the landscape. In August of 2020, I was hired by Taylor Lewis, nursery manager, to be a student co-coordinator for the Plant Propagation and Nursery Management team, but the pandemic prevented us from having a team until the 2021-2022 academic year.
As a student co-coordinator, I was given the chance to work alongside a group of people who are genuinely interested and passionate about working with plants. Since Taylor and I were working on rebuilding this team after the pandemic, I didn’t expect our team to turn out the way it did. At one point we had up to 40 students interested in working with us! I absolutely loved working alongside my fellow co-coordinator, our student interns, and staff mentor in running plant sales, building our drought-tolerant succulent garden, and essentially growing more plants from already existing plants. Planning, organizing, and implementing a set of lessons, activities, and projects for our interns was so fulfilling. I am really grateful for the chance to have met everyone on our team.
The Learning by Leading program taught me how to develop a plan, and also how to follow through on that plan. It is one thing to have an idea in mind, but something completely different to actually make that idea a reality. On the other hand, plans don’t always work out. I learned how to adapt to new situations on the fly and keep a flexible mindset. My ability to organize, schedule, and adapt have all been improved through this program, which I feel will be beneficial for my next step in life.
I am very grateful to our team’s staff mentor for encouraging me to grow in this leadership role. In the summer leading up to the start of the internship program, Taylor gave me free rein to get creative with the development of our team and implement my ideas into the planning. Now I look back on this team with a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I put as much of myself into it as I could. Taylor provided me with a space to be ambitious and to shoot for the stars, and I truly appreciate his encouragement.
The Learning by Leading program has shaped the majority of my experiences at UC Davis. I have spent 75% of my college career in this program, and I honestly don’t know who I would be had I not found it. I learned that I love working outdoors and with plants, and this has inspired me to focus on studying restoration in the future. I have made so many good friends and lifelong memories through this program. I know that it has impacted me in shaping who I am, and I hope that my work in the program will impact future student interns and visitors to the Arboretum as well. Moving forward is intimidating, but I am content with the knowledge that I am well grounded in who I am and the lessons that I learned from the Learning by Leading program.