The Phoenix Country Club is set to establish a master plan
By Kay Ledbetter
Sometimes the education that takes place off campus is the most memorable and life changing.
Hailey Tucker and Megan Muesseboth sophomores from Texas A&M enrolled in the turf science program at the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciencesrecently landed a great opportunity when they were selected to be part of an all-female field team for the Little League Softball World Series at Stallings Stadium in Greenville, NC.
Tucker is in his second year in the turf science program. Muesse is in her first year as a turf science student after starting as a plant and environmental soil science major.
Students work at the Turfgrass Research Lab for a research specialist weston floyd and Dr. Chase Strawdoctorate, AgriLife Research turf researcher and assistant professor, both in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Floyd and Straw helped Tucker and Muesse earn their spot on the LLSWS field team, where they spent four days gaining field experience and industry connections.
“We strive to put our Turf Science students in situations that will benefit them outside of the classroom to gain hands-on experience and network with industry professionals,” Straw said. “Megan and Hailey took full advantage of these opportunities early in their undergraduate careers and will no doubt benefit them upon graduation.”
The field crew included 16 women with varying backgrounds in the turf industry. Among other responsibilities, they filled the pitcher’s mound, bullpen and home plate with clay, helped paint the foul lines and the batters’ and catchers’ boxes, dragged the pitch and changed bases.
What was the highlight of your time with the field team?
Tucker: My highlight was meeting all the women in the territory and hearing their stories. It was so amazing to learn from them and gain knowledge about the industry. Being part of this group gave me hope for my career in the industry and gave me confidence knowing that I had a community behind me.
Messe: The highlight of my time at the LLSWS was painting the lines for the championship game. As younger students in the field, we had practiced painting the lines and made the lines for the scrimmage game at East Carolina University. It was such an amazing experience and a boost of confidence to have veteran female groundskeepers entrust us with leading the preparation for the championship game.
What is the most important thing you have learned that will help you in your future career?
Tucker: The most important thing I learned is that there will always be people to guide me on my journey. All the volunteers were so insightful and made it very clear to us that they were only a phone call away.
Messe: Along with learning new skills related to sports fields, one thing I’ve learned for my career is the importance of the relationships I’ve built. I have spoken to so many women with backgrounds in sports, golf and research, as well as other positions within the industry. It was amazing to hear their stories and experiences, considering I’m new to this world. It was very revealing, and I know I will have friends in these women for the rest of my life.
Have you shared your knowledge of Texas A&M with the field crew?
Tucker: Most of the knowledge I acquired at Texas A&M is in the area of research. Since this is my first semester as a true turf student, I am excited to gain more knowledge, grow, and network with others in the industry.
Messe: I took a few courses specific to my turf major which helped me understand what certain things are and why we did certain things. I knew that when we cut a piece of grass to pump standing water, when that piece of grass was replaced, it would live and be fine because of the soil, rhizomes and stolons. I have also had the opportunity to volunteer and work at the Regional and Super Regional Baseball Championships under (Texas A&M Assistant Director of Athletics) Nick McKenna. This is where I had my first experience with sports fields, and learned from him and other Texas A&M field staff. I was able to apply what I learned at LLSWS and teach others what I knew.
What is your dream job?
Tucker: My dream job is to be a sports field designer. I would like to move on to masters in landscape architecture after my bachelor’s degree. Being a sports field designer would allow me to travel all over the world and be both on the field and in the office.
Messe: I’m not sure what my dream job is. I’m new to this industry, and it’s absolutely fantastic. But if I give an answer it would be either to become a superintendent of a golf course or to work as the head groundskeeper of a sports field, especially baseball, because that’s the sport that I love the more.
How did your time at Texas A&M prepare you for this job?
Tucker: My time at A&M gave me the confidence to network with important professionals in the turf industry. I learned basic skills on the turf farm that I know I will use for the rest of my life. Things as small as learning how to use a large mower, measuring fertilizer, and collecting data are valuable skills that I can draw on to make me a better professional.
Messe: Texas A&M prepared me in many ways for either job. In my classes I learn the basics of information and what everything is. Then, working in the Turfgrass Research lab, I can apply what I’ve learned in a real-world setting, whether it’s mowing, applying fertilizer, watering, or even growing conditions. grass growth.