Young Alum of the Month: Winston Beck

Winston Beck
Title and Company: 
Curatorial Horticulturist, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Omaha, NE
Major and Graduation Date: 
Horticulture, 2012
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

I care for the several outdoor spaces, and am building our plant records database.  The database will be the informational powerhouse for the Garden in the future, and currently has information on our 2763 accessions.  Also indoors, I (with the help of some dedicated volunteers) maintain our living wall – the first of its kind in Iowa – by trialing new plant material and monitoring pest populations, fertilizer needs and facing the many challenges of growing plants vertically.  For my outdoor duties, I design, lead the installation process, and manage the gardens through the seasons, adding to and editing the landscape as necessary.  I also get to assist in the water garden, which means I get to go swimming about once or twice a week at work!  Outside of primary duties, the horticulture team also gets to work with all of our volunteers, and help out in the Gardener’s Showhouse.

What you like most about your job/position: 

I really like that we have such creative freedom.  I have 1,549 square feet of well-composted soils to create a dynamic display for our guests.  After designing something different, I love watching all the ideas in my head turn into months of slow-motion plant theatre.

What advice would you give to current students: 

Get involved.  I was able to see more, do more, and be more by simply raising my hand to participate when someone asked.  Build relationships through internships, jobs on- and off-campus, clubs, professors, and peers.  Bonus: getting involved doesn’t just benefit you. It benefits others in the organizations you’re involved with, the university, and your community.

Favorite ISU Class
I took a tissue culture lab in the course of my studies.  It was something I’d read about and always wanted to do.