Gladys Martinez, a recent graduate of Sam Huston State University, says she accidentally fell into this field of study. Her original interests began in the medical field, and she began to realize after researching, most medicine comes from plants.
“I thought that would be a very interesting degree to get so that I would be more familiar with what is in each plant,” she says. Thanks to a school visit by an employee development representative from Yellowstone Landscape, Martinez realized she could pair two of these interests into a degree.
“There was an internship opportunity (with Yellowstone) and I wanted to see what was out there and I did an internship with them and I loved it,” she says. “I didn’t realize that I was ever going to fall into the green industry in this way. And it was one of the best choices that I made. I love being outside and interacting with people.”
Martinez was able to intern with Yellowstone over three years and assisted with account managing. “I learned all the aspects from that, a little bit of irrigation, a little bit about management and how to deal with clients,” she says.
Through the program at Sam Houston State University, Martinez was able to participate in some meaningful community projects as well. As the vice president and treasurer of the plant and soil science club her sophomore year, she helped students in the club, as well as other clubs, come together to create a community garden.
“We built a garden from scratch in a horticulture department, and it was something that kinda took off,” she says. “And it was great because you had all these different clubs from the university that were able to volunteer and adopted plot.”
Some of the plants included vegetables that the club then donated back to the university. “Anybody who was on campus and couldn’t afford food or vegetables, we had our food pantry once a month and they were able to go out there and get any food they needed,” she says. “With that, I learned more of the ornamental aspects of the green industry.”
After completing her internships, Martinez graduated with a degree in plant and soil science and a minor in biology, pairing two of her favorite subjects.
She’s currently employed by Yellowstone and works in the same branch that she completed her internships at. She was offered the job upon graduation and is currently an assistant account manager.
“I help out with the Woodlands Park township area,” she says. “We take care of about 149 parks right now and I help assist with that, helping with designs and helping with sales and with crews.”
Her education didn’t stop after graduation, either. She enrolled in a week-long irrigation course to get certified in that area as well. “That’s something I wanted to learn on my own. And I had spoken to my branch manager about it and he had offered to help me get that license,” she says. With some help from the irrigation manager, she was able to start the course with some basic knowledge she already had.
While she landed a job right after graduation, Martinez says she hopes employers understand that sometimes students aren’t well represented on a resume.
“Don’t overlook any students because you might have a great individual who has not had the ability to take an internship or had the time to work more in the industry before graduating,” she says. “They should not be overlooked because they’re great individuals, too.”