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N. C. State Turfgrass Students Accept Internships at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona

June 20, 2008
By TurfFiles Webmaster

Stu Buck speaking to interns at Desert Mountain

Four NC State turfgrass students and one horticulture student accepted internships at Desert Mountain near Scottsdale, Arizona this summer. Desert Mountain is one of the top private golf course communities in the world and is the only location with six Jack Nicklaus courses in one location. It is first class all the way and these five students are gaining experience at a remarkable facility, while learning to manage turfgrass under hot and arid desert conditions.

The students are Brinkley Roberson, Matt Jeffries, Brandon McIntosh, Kevin Moser, and John Frazier. They arrived in Arizona in late May and stay at an apartment complex in Scottsdale. Shawn Emerson, Director of Agronomy at Desert Mountain, and his staff are taking this internship program to a new level of sophistication. The interns have a website they can go to with updated calendars for their job responsibilities, assignments, resource materials (standard operating procedure manuals), contact information, and more. While there is plenty of work to be done, weekly schedules include field trips to area sod farms, water and fertilizer plants, scheduled guest speakers, the opportunity to prep the field for an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game, golf at other courses, field tours with University of Arizona turfgrass faculty and golf course consultants, and Desert Mountain University. Desert Mountain University is a unique concept Shawn has initiated that includes Desert Mountain staff and guest speakers. Included are sessions with staff from Human Resources to enhance people and management skills.

Shawn views this as a "win-win" situation for everyone. The students gain great experience and education, and Desert Mountain gets to employ students with turfgrass knowledge to help them through the critical summer months. They also get to evaluate them as future employees. It is anticipated that after this initial class of interns complete the summer, plans will be immediately pursued to increase the number of internships to at least 12 for 2009. This will be a great collaborative arrangement between the turfgrass program at N. C. State and Desert Mountain in Arizona.