Gerard White, a student on the BSc in Horticulture at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin and a native of Whitestown, Greenore, Dundalk, Louth, has been announced as the joint winner of the 2023 Una McDermott Travel Bursary.
The bursary has allowed Gerard to travel to San Francisco, California, where he is currently completing the work placement component of his degree at the Cal Club Golf Course.
Gerard expressed his gratitude upon receiving the bursary, saying "It’s an honour for me to receive the Una McDermott bursary fund. This funding will be a big help to me during work placement this semester, in which I’m doing a Turfgrass internship at the Cal Club Golf Course in San Francisco. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to gain valuable experience and knowledge in Turfgrass at a Top 100 golf course".
The Una McDermott travel bursary was established to provide financial assistance to students studying horticulture who wish to travel for work placement or research. The competitive bursary is awarded annually to a small number of students who demonstrates exceptional promise and commitment to the field of horticulture.
Una McDermott, for whom the bursary is named, was a distinguished horticulturist who devoted her life to the study and cultivation of plants. She was a keen traveller and believed that exposure to different cultures and landscapes was essential to the development of a well-rounded horticulturist.
The bursary is administered by SETU Waterford where Una McDermott worked for many years. It is funded by a generous donation from her estate, and is intended to continue her legacy of promoting horticultural education and international options for study.
Dr Cara Daly, Programme Director for the SETU BSc in Horticulture says “Gerard is an outstanding candidate for the bursary, with a strong application and a passion for horticulture and green keeping. His work placement at the Cal Club Golf Course will provide him with a unique opportunity to learn from some of the best turfgrass experts in the world. We wish him all the best for his travels and look forward to hearing about his experiences upon his return”.
Green keeping is a crucial aspect of horticulture education, and involves the maintenance and care of grass surfaces, such as golf courses, sports fields, parks stadia, and race courses. Green keeping is an important skill to learn for horticulture students as it requires a deep understanding of soil health, plant nutrition, and pest management, among other topics. Through green keeping education, students can develop the necessary knowledge and practical skills to manage and maintain healthy turf surfaces, which are essential for the aesthetics and functionality of various public and private spaces. There is currently a shortage of degree-level trained greenkeepers throughout Ireland and the world.
For more information about horticulture courses in SETU Waterford and Kildalton College Kilkenny, and the SETU degree in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin in Dublin see www.setu.ie/horticulture .