Ty Rich Wins Third Place in the ASHS Graduate Floriculture Competition

Aug. 11, 2023
Ty Rich presenting at ASHS

Congratulations to Ty Rich, on receiving third place in the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Graduate Floriculture Oral Competition with his presentation on the "Effect of Fertilizer Concentration on Growth of four Succulent Taxa"!

Ty is currently pursuing his MS in Floriculture under the advisement of Dr. Garrett Owen. Check out what Ty had to say about how his research is going and what being an HCS graduate student is like:

How did you first become interested in floriculture?

Ty: I have always had an interest in floriculture as long as I can remember, even if I didn’t know it at the time. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of going to pick out plants each spring with my mom or grandma! My mother gave me my own pot each year to take care of and I got to choose my own plants and then care for them through the summer. I was always amazed walking through the aisles in a nursery or greenhouse and seeing hundreds of colorful flowers and that still rings true today!

Could you tell us a bit about your research & how it is going so far?

Ty: The research I presented at ASHS this year was previous work I did with Dr. Owen at the University of Kentucky. As for my thesis research, I am preparing my greenhouse for my first trial of experiment 1! The first chapter of my thesis will be a species screening of herbaceous perennials treated with ethephon. I am evaluating each species response to see if they are too sensitive to the chemical or if it provides beneficial effects when applied. I am excited to see the results of this first trial!

Ty presenting at ASHS

How was ASHS?

Ty: This was my second trip to the annual meeting for ASHS. I have participated in both the oral and poster competitions in 2022 (as an undergraduate) and 2023 (first year as a grad student). I have been a member of ASHS since 2019, and it is exciting to now be able to attend the annual meetings to learn more on current research in horticulture as well as share the amazing work that the Owen lab does.

What’s a typical day as a grad student like for you?

Ty: My day-to-day work varies based on what point in my experiments I am at! My studies typically last 6 weeks (determined based on preliminary research). The first two weeks of the study are my busiest time; this is when I transplant and treat my plants and get them all set up in the greenhouse. During the experiment, I check my plants daily to water, monitor for pests, and record when plants begin to flower. At the end of the experiment, I collect all of my data over 1-2 days, doing all of one species in one day. When I am not in the greenhouse, I am working on more office type work! There is always data to enter, statistics to evaluate, or writing.  

What've been a few highlights of your time in grad school so far?

Ty: I only joined the department in January 2023, but I have had an amazing time at OSU so far! A few highlights would be: Being able to volunteer for the inaugural “We Grow Scientists” event sponsored by COSI! It was great to see so much interest in horticulture from younger kids that may not get much exposure to horticulture otherwise. Another major highlight would be the departments Graduate Research Symposium. I had only been here a few months when the symposium occurred, and this year it was in Wooster. It was great to meet the other HCS students that are based in Wooster, as well as learn more about the different research that is being conducted in the department!

How do you balance all your responsibilities?

Ty: At times it can be difficult to balance all of my responsibilities! The main two ways I manage them are though ranking the tasks in a list and speaking with my advisor. By writing down my tasks from most important to least important I can prioritize work that has a closer or is more pertinent for the lab. When I feel like too much has been put on my list or I am afraid I will not be able to handle all of my responsibilities I schedule a meeting with my advisor. Talking through my list with Dr. Owen allows me to solidify the importance of each task! In some cases, if I have too much to do in one week, we can evaluate everything together and decide what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. I also try to avoid procrastinating, though it can be hard, because even if something gets moved farther down on my list it still needs to be done! Not falling behind on my responsibilities saves me a lot of stress later on. 

Closing thoughts…

Ty: Thank you to my advisor Dr. Owen, fellow graduate students Lauren Seltsam and Lark Wuetcher, and undergraduate Alex Davis for all of their support. I could not achieve all that I do without the help and support they provide with research, class, and more! 

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