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State Tech student receives Missouriís Breaking Traditions award

Brittany Marshall, Columbia, MO, a student enrolled at State Technical College of Missouri, has been selected as this year’s Breaking Traditions State Postsecondary/Adult Female winner.

In 2012, Brittany will graduate from State Tech with an associate of applied science degree in Commercial Turf & Grounds Management.  

Brittany’s decision to pursue a career in the turf industry was due to the encouragement of her high school Ag teacher.  “She understood what I was interested in and what I was good at in high school,” commented Brittany.  “She suggested I look at the Commercial Turf & Grounds Management program at State Tech.”

According to State Tech CTG instructor Ryan Klatt, the Breaking Traditions award is a fitting honor for Brittany.  “Awards mean a lot but they don’t say it all,” said Klatt.  “Wherever Brittany goes she will make a name for herself.”

On March 26, Brittany will be headed to Michigan where she’ll be interning as a groundskeeper at the Fifth Third Ballpark, home to the West Michigan Whitecaps.   “I’m very excited about having the opportunity to work on a minor league baseball field,” said Brittany.

Last year Brittany interned at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department where she cared for a variety of athletic fields. During the internship, she discovered that she enjoyed working on the baseball fields more than others.   “There was so much more to maintaining the baseball fields than just cutting grass,” said Brittany.  “I really enjoyed it.”

With her internship, Brittany will walk in the footsteps of another woman much like herself.   Detroit Tigers’ head groundskeeper Heather Nabozny started her career as a groundskeeper with the West Michigan Whitecaps.  Nabozny, the first female head groundskeeper in the history of major league baseball, has been a trailblazer for young women such as Brittany who are inspired to be successful in the turf and management industry.

“I’m hoping to meet her when I am in Michigan this summer,” said Brittany.  “She’s certainly an inspiration to me.”

While studying at State Tech, Brittany has been exposed to a number of career possibilities.   In addition to her experience as a groundskeeper, Brittany has also interned with Turfgrass Diagnostics in Hallsville, MO.   While at the clinic, she worked closely with owner and plant pathologist, Dr. Barb Corwin.   “We would receive turf samples from golf course superintendents, sod producers and sports turf managers from all over the country,” said Brittany.  “It was our job to diagnosis the sample and to provide feedback about the diseased sample.”

Brittany considered the work she did at the clinic to be interesting, but unsure if it was the career path for her.   “I had fun, but it certainly required a lot of research,” stated Brittany.  “I did way more reading than I thought I would ever have to do.”

Once Brittany has completed her internship in Michigan and graduated from State Tech, she has planned to enroll in Central Methodist University’s baccalaureate program in management being offered on State Tech’s main campus.

“I’m keeping my options open,” commented Brittany.  “The possibilities are endless.”

As a winner of Missouri’s Breaking Traditions award, Brittany will receive a scholarship offer from all Missouri community colleges and State Tech, a scholarship from the Foundation for Missouri Women, and an invitation to the Missouri Breaking Traditions awards ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion scheduled for April 23. 

For nineteen years, Breaking Traditions has honored outstanding students in Missouri who have chosen specific career and technical programs based on their interests and abilities and who have not let their gender influence their career decisions.

With more than 35 academic programs, State Technical College of Missouri is Missouri’s only public two-year technical college with a statewide mission to prepare students for profitable employment and a life of learning. 

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