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US (NC): Kalmowitz’s support of horticulture at NC State Uni

Kathie Kalmowitz, Ph.D. '93 is a trailblazing College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Distinguished Alumna who values the opportunities she had during her doctoral studies. Kalmowitz believes in supporting the horticulture students and labs that provide defining opportunities reminiscent of the graduate programs she experienced.

NC State University's annual Day of Giving is March 20, 2024, and its impact will be far-reaching. Supporters like Kalmowitz help the Department of Horticultural Science develop greater opportunities, innovative research, and a stronger unified vision of the future. This funding makes college more affordable, meets emergency needs, funds critical research, strengthens technology, and bolsters new programs that enhance our trajectory.

How did your horticulture degree prepare you for your career?
My degree at NC State was the continuation of my area of interest since spending 12 years in Charleston County, South Carolina, as a horticulture extension agent. Both master's and doctorate degrees were interdisciplinary programs emphasizing plant health and plant protection. My crop preference has always been woody ornamental plants. However, for the doctorate, I worked on annual bluegrass and the research into how it grew cultural management and the influence of disease specifically. It broadened my background, which was essential in my final career responsibilities. One of the biggest influences in my doctoral program was having to do research throughout my four years in various laboratories outside of the Department of Horticultural Science and interacting with industry representatives who were funding my project. Later in my job, collaborative industry-university research was a big part of helping me be successful with my program goals for the company.

Was there an enduring moment that impacted you from your time with the horticulture department?
This was not one moment but over the four years of having the opportunity to interact with several of the department's faculty. I was on a research assistantship, but I also had to fulfill both extension and teaching experiences as a department requirement. I was a teaching assistant (TA) for two professors, greenhouse management and woody plant propagation, and handled the extension experience in vegetables and small fruits through my major professor's project. All of these experiences provided me with greater confidence as I started my job in the plant sciences after graduation.

What does the Day of Giving mean to you, and why have you chosen to participate in all five Days of Giving?
I feel very fortunate to have earned my degree at NC State. I know the education and the mentoring I received while in my graduate program helped me be successful in my career. I had been invited to join the Board of Advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum shortly before my retirement at the end of 2019. I wanted to give back to the university and a place that has given me many hours of enjoyment over the years. Day of Giving can also allow you to honor a professor who may have an endowment in name or a specific program. I remember the first time I contributed to the Arboretum, it was to support the Children's Program, which had been set up by a former JC Raulston Arboretum director.

What horticulture department cause is important to you and why?
Supporting the Department of Horticultural Science is important so that it remains a discrete department across both applied and basic research areas of horticulture. The department's depth of expertise is recognized by other universities and industries alike, all of whom will be recruiting for future employees.

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