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MSU floral design reps are cream of the crop
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Everything came up roses at a recent national conference for representatives of Mississippi State University’s floral design and management program.
Students and faculty in MSU’s floral management concentration in the horticulture program traveled to Miami to compete at the American Institute of Floral Designer’s annual meeting. While there, they received multiple honors.
James DelPrince, professor in MSU’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, said about 40 students from 16 colleges in the United States and Canada attended. Participants created bridal bouquets, centerpieces, buffet table arrangements and intricate napkin displays designed with an intimate wedding setting in mind.
“Three of our students placed within the top 10 in every category, and Brittany Sims tied for first place in the table napkin decor category,” DelPrince said. “MSU ranked first place overall among baccalaureate degree-granting institutions participating in the contest.”
Success at this level can be a career booster, he said.
“Winning a prize at the national symposium is akin to winning a Tony Award,” he said. “Brittany went up on stage in front of about 600 of the most talented floral designers in the United States. Through this introduction, students can gain entrance to career-starting internships and full-time post-graduation positions.”
The AIFD Foundation presented only two student scholarships this year, and both were awarded to MSU students: Elizabeth McDougald, a senior from Starkville, and Sims, a junior from Kosciusko.
Lynette McDougald, an instructor in the floral management program, said MSU’s practical, student-driven approach is renowned, and several schools in the Southeast have visited the campus to plan their own programs based on its success.
“We combine teaching, The University Florist shop and a student AIFD chapter. We’re considered the program to emulate,” she said.
McDougald, who has been a member of AIFD since 2005, was elected to a three-year term on AIFD’s Southern Board of Directors.
“I’ll work on the education committee, particularly with institutions of higher learning,” she said. “I am coordinating the first student chapter gathering at AIFD nationals next year in Las Vegas -- sort of a Starkvegas-meets-Las Vegas-themed event for all of the student participants. Since Mississippi is the hospitality state, it’s only natural MSU should host the student meeting.”