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Senior profile: Lauren Seccurra

Lauren Securra at work in the herb garden at Cornell Plantations

Lauren Securra at work in the herb garden at Cornell Plantations

First in a series of profiles celebrating the Class of 2011.

Major: Plant sciences with a concentration in horticulture

Hometown: Sherrill, N.Y.

Why did you choose Cornell?

I came to Cornell to major in Landscape Architecture. There are smaller schools with landscape architecture programs, but they didn’t offer all the other courses to explore outside the major. And there are so many other opportunities for learning here – lectures, concerts, libraries, and people from all over the world. Coming from a small high school, I saw Cornell’s diversity as a great opportunity to meet many people from all over the world.

What was your main extracurricular activity? Why was it important to you?

I learned a lot about leadership and teamwork as a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity. I served on the executive board and worked on conference planning and event hosting, and now I have a supportive network of friends all over the country.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most?

I had so many great professors who helped along the way – too many to mention. If you’re struggling with something, they’re willing to help. I had good support here.

What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?

My sophomore year, I took Creating the Urban Eden – a course where you learn about the woody plants used in landscape design. Then the following summer, I got a lot of hands-on experience as a Botanical Collections intern at Cornell Plantations. From those experiences, I realized that in order to make good landscape design decisions, you have to know a lot about the plants. So I switched my major to Plant Sciences.

Did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?

I learned that a balance between art and science is very valuable, especially when making design decisions. I came to realize that I like a balance of the two approaches.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

My summer internships. In 2009 at Cornell Plantations, I got to get my hands dirty working outside in the sunshine and got a good feel for public garden management and education. I could take pride in seeing the gardens really come to life and help beautify our campus.

In 2010, I worked on the flower trials at Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Center just off campus. In addition to growing the flowers, we helped host a conference and field day, made floral arrangements, and attended a floriculture conference.

Any advice for freshmen?

Get to know all the great things the area has to offer: The Dairy Bar, The Commons, Cayuga Lake, the Farmers Market and the festivals – especially the Apple Festival in the fall.

What are your plans for next year and beyond?

I’m still looking for a job. I’m hoping for something where I can put my skills and interests in public gardens, flowers and event planning to work. Meantime, I’ve lined up a great internship in the Disney Professional Horticulture Internship Program. It should be a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

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