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Recent Graduate Profile
B.S. in Horticulture with an option in Ecological and Sustainable Horticultural Production. Graduated Winter 2013.
In his new position as Propagation Grower at Bailey Nurseries in Yamhill, Oregon, Aaron McLaughlin's main job is "to make the plants happy," he says.
As one of the crew in charge of rooting four million trees and shrubs per year, McLaughlin works in many different facets of horticultural production, including pest and nutrient management. "We produce more than 1,000 varieties of trees and shrubs - everything from maples, cherries, and conifers to roses, hydrangea, and barberry. My group works to make sure every one of these delicate plants is rooted and stabilized," he explains.
"Each of the varieties that Bailey Nurseries produces has different crop requirements and must be cared for in a unique way. This keeps the job interesting because even if you know everything in the world about a single crop, there are 100 more that you will continue to struggle with. In my opinion, this diversity makes working at a nursery much more satisfying and challenging than on a conventional farm."
McLaughlin completed an internship at Bailey Nurseries prior to graduating. He cycled through an 11 week program, taking his turn job-shadowing people working in propagation, plant health, fieldwork, and more. He also worked at Bailey last summer in a fulltime position.
"I got to see each cog in the nursery production wheel," he said.
McLaughlin admits he's always been interested in plants, so he really wanted to find a career that would let him work in the field. He's thrilled with his current position and hopes one day to move up to a managerial role. In addition to majoring in Horticulture, he also minored in Business and Entrepreneurship.
While at OSU, McLaughlin's favorite class was Plant Nursery Systems, taught by Rich Regan. "As someone really interested in production, this is a broad class that gets you working in the lab and in the greenhouse. You get to grow!"
He encourages current and incoming Horticulture undergraduates to be aware of all the classes offered at OSU and to focus more on what may be helpful in achieving your career goals, rather than just fulfilling the major requirements.