HCS Alumni Spotlight: Regan Draeger

Feb. 26, 2024
Headshot of Regan smiling against a dark gray backdrop

Meet Regan Draeger | OSU HCS Alumnus Class of 2023

Regan Draeger is a Landscape Designer at Corso’s Horticulture, while also pursuing her Master's degree at the University of Tennessee in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications. She received her Bachelor of Science (2023) in Sustainable Plant Systems with a Horticulture specialization from our department. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's degree, Regan received her Associate of Science in Horticultural Science from Ohio State ATI.

While here at Ohio State, Regan was actively involved in a wide array of extracurriculars including: Pi Alpha Xi (PAX) Horticultural Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Upsilon Sorority, and CFAES Ambassadors. Additionally, Regan was selected as a 2023 AmericanHort Scholar.

Luckily, Regan had time to share a bit about her experiences at Ohio State + her time as an AmericanHort Scholar...

Regan posing with the other 2023 AmericanHort Scholars in a display of ornamental plants.
How’d you initially become interested in horticulture?

My passion for horticulture began at a very young age. Growing up, I was constantly in the garden and enjoyed entering the open class horticulture department at the county fair. During my eighth grade year, I joined the Woodmore FFA floriculture team where we learned to identify plants by common and scientific names, design floral arrangements, differentiate between crop diseases and deficiencies, and identify common tools in the trade. Through determination and hard work, I was able to place 3rd at the state competition and 5th at national competition my freshman year, and 1st at the State competition my sophomore year. Since earning my state title, I have started my own wedding design business.

During the same time, I began my first job in the horticulture industry at Bench’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Elmore, Ohio. Through my involvement in the greenhouse and floral design aspects of the horticultural industry, I discovered what career I was truly passionate about: landscape design.

I recently began my career at Corso’s Landscape in Sandusky, Ohio where I work within the landscape design department. This is an occupation that marries two of my favorite things: an acquisition of knowledge and an avenue to create. I work with other landscape designers to create landscapes that are both aesthetic and practical for residential and commercial projects. Moving forward, I hope to become an active contributor in this industry by developing landscapes that push design boundaries and are sustainable for our environment.

What made you decide to continue on with your bachelor’s degree after receiving your associate degree in Horticultural Science From Ohio State ATI?

Prior to beginning my undergraduate degree, I knew that I wanted to pursue my bachelor’s degree. I have always felt passionately about education and knew that the opportunities presented through my continued education at the Columbus campus would provide invaluable experience and knowledge in this career field.

What were some highlights of your time in undergrad?

As an undergrad, I enjoyed being involved on campus as a CFAES Ambassador, Vice President of the Alpha Sigma Upsilon sorority, and Pi Alpha Xi horticultural honor society member. These organizations allowed me to create connections across the CFAES campus and broaden my experiences as a student. I also enjoyed working with the State Master Gardener program, which enabled me to develop relationships within the horticultural industry.

Could you tell us a bit about your experience as a 2023 AmericanHort Scholar?

The HortScholar program was such an incredible experience! As a horticulture student, this program allowed me to connect with leaders across the industry. I was one of six students selected, and the diversity in our backgrounds helped us to further broaden our knowledge of the industry. During our week at the Cultivate conference, we assisted with conference setup and designed areas like the orchid wall. In addition to spending time on the conference floor talking to vendors, we also met one-on-one with companies like Ball, Syngenta, and Corteva. We were also able to speak with the Advocacy Team at AmericanHort to learn more about political concerns facing the industry.

This conference truly enabled me to immerse myself in the industry and opened doors to a multitude of career paths. The relationships built over the course of this program, both personal and professional, are unmatched.

Regan and the other AmericanHort scholars posing with a group of Cultivate attendees.
What’s a normal day look like for you now?

As a Landscape Designer & Salesperson with Corso’s Landscape, I meet with clients on a daily basis to develop designs that are both functional and aesthetic for commercial and residential projects. Additionally, I create project estimates, finalize sales, and work with our landscape foreman to bring these landscape visions to life. I design and install fall and Christmas displays, as well as annual containers for clients. I spend most of my weeknights working on coursework for my master's program, which I will complete next summer.

Did your time at OSU help prepare you for success in graduate school

OSU certainly helped to prepare me for success in grad school by challenging me academically. The professors were very encouraging about pursuing higher education and were ultimately the reason that I sought out a master's program.

any advice for students considering studying horticulture?

I would definitely encourage students to learn more about career pathways in horticulture! This industry is so diverse, and there’s definitely a career option for everyone. I would strongly advise students to start making connections early because they are vital in the horticultural industry. Whether it’s through internships or programs like American HortScholars, the relationships you develop as a student will set you up for success in the future.

Today, we have a wide variety of academic paths for you to choose from to help you grow your career…