MCCC Is "Number One" with
Horticulture Alum Taylor Sapudar

7/09


Ever since he was a child, Taylor Sapudar enjoyed helping his father beautify their lawn and garden. Today at age 20, as owner of Green Grove Design and Landscaping in Groveville, N.J., Sapudar has established a firm foundation for his homegrown passion. Starting out three years ago cutting grass and providing basic lawn maintenance for neighbors, he now also creates landscapes, walkways, decks and more for his customers.

Family and friends thought Sapudar, who was class president as a senior at Steinert High School, would either seek horticulture as a major at a four-year college or jump right into the landscape industry. Instead, he combined these goals by enrolling at Mercer County Community College, where he gained a solid academic foundation as well as practical experience, earning his A.A.S. in Ornamental Horticulture in 2008. Attending a community college was a deliberate decision on his part.

Taylor Sapudar '08

"My guidance counselor at Steinert strongly recommended MCCC because of its great horticulture program and internships in the field from the start," Sapudar said. "All of my classes were taught in the greenhouse. At Mercer, I gained in-depth, hands-on knowledge about plant identification, propagation, diseases and proper growing conditions." He supplemented his learning with valuable internships at D'Imperio Brothers Landscaping, Inc., in Columbus, NJ, and at Drumthwacket, the Governor's mansion located in Princeton, where he created landscape designs. "I love working outside. I want to get my hands dirty," he said.

After two years at MCCC, this Dean's List student transferred to Rutgers University in fall, 2008 to continue his education. He completed his junior year in May as an environmental planning major with a focus on the landscape industry, particularly the aesthetic enhancement of residential landscapes. He is also studying to earn a certificate in horticultural therapy, which focuses on the creative use of plants as a healing device and to help boost morale in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and prisons.

"I am right on track with my classmates," Sapudar said. "When I graduate in 2010, I will have three strong credentials that will actually put me ahead of most students - an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree and solid work experience." He adds that he saved a significant sum on tuition while at Mercer.

"It was a lot of hard work but worth it," he said. "For many people, Mercer should be an original plan, a best option. It was and is number one with me."

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