Dan Micholson became interested in horticulture while working as a horticultural laborer for his local park district.
“Ever since I was young, I love working outside cutting lawns and working in the garden,” he said. “Horticulture has allowed me to be creative in these areas and I enjoy seeing the finished products of my efforts.”
A student at another college, he began looking for other schools because his college didn’t offer a degree program in Horticulture.
“While doing research of colleges in the area, I came across College of DuPage,” he said. “My research as well as the reviews of the College’s education showed me that the Horticulture program at COD was the right choice for me.”
The knowledge he gained at COD prepared Micholson well for his internship as a groundskeeper at Wrigley Field. During the summer of 2015, he maintained the playing area of the field, which required a variety of tasks such as trimming the ivy, watering the field or grass, painting foul lines, replacing the field’s surface, rolling out the tarp during rain and repairing the pitcher’s mound.
“The things I learned in my classes helped me to understand what I was doing and communicate knowledgeably with others,” Micholson said. “For example, when dealing with trouble areas around the field, I could tell what the problem was and what could be done to fix it. My position with the Cubs allowed me to do what I love while gaining valuable experience for the future.”
Micholson said that the hands-on work really helped him to clarify and reinforce what he has learned in the classroom. He said he would recommend internships to other students because they can provide a new perspective – a perspective that may lead them into new directions.
“You never know what a career involves until you actually experience it first-hand,” he said. “This internship has made me rethink what I want to pursue. Initially, I was aiming for arboriculture work but after my experience at Wrigley, I am considering taking more turf management classes.”
In fact, his goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in Turf Management and then find a position that will utilize his skills, knowledge and experience. He is hoping to pursue a second horticulture degree at COD and is still at Wrigley Field part-time, where he was able to enjoy the World Series win in 2016. He currently works full-time for the Village of Elk Grove in the land and forestry department.
Micholson is thankful that his education at College of DuPage has provided an opportunity to pursue a career path he enjoys.
“The variety of classes allows you to try different areas to find what you like to do the best,” he said. “Don't give up on your dream. I worked a full-time position days, did night classes at COD and did my internship nights and weekends. Hard work does pay off!”