Branden Kowalysyn

Spring 2020


Degree: Bachelor of Science

Concentration: Production Systems and Entrepreneurship

How are you planning to use your degree?

I would like to use my degree in Horticulture to help make the world beautiful through public gardening. I would love to be a horticulturist at a botanic garden to help maintain a public space in which anyone can enjoy. Connecting people to the natural world is an invaluable gift.

List clubs and activities while in school.

  • Pi Alpha Xi (VP fall 2019- spring 2020)
  • JC Raulston Arboretum (Intern summer 2019)

Whom do you want to thank?

I would like to thank my advisor Helen Kraus for guiding me through this journey and helping me reach my academic goals; thank you for always being there for direction whenever things got rough. I would also like to thank my various professors in the department of horticulture for teaching me so many useful skills that I will carry with me throughout my professional career; you all have made a bigger impact than you know and I am so humbled by your generosity of knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile to help. I would also like to thank Douglas Ruhren, Tim Alderton and Mark Weathington at the JC Raulston arboretum for being incredible mentors, sharing your immense knowledge and helping me realize my passion for public gardening. Finally, I would like to thank my mom for pushing me to succeed and supporting my dreams. Without your love and support, I would not have been able to become the person I am today.

What is the best thing about studying horticulture at NC State?

The best thing about studying horticulture at NC State has been the sense of community and networking! I have made so many lifelong friends during my time at NCSU, both staff and students. I cannot imagine embarking on my career without them by my side.


Advisor Comments (Helen Kraus):

I am so disappointed that I do not get to demonstrate that I have mastered pronouncing Branden’s last name! It was no small feat. Branden is another hard working, plant passionate, and compassionate student that has been a joy to get to know. He loves to work with any plant and loves most plants! My favorite memory of Branden will always be him saving a parrot in the camellia outside of Kilgore Hall!  Ask him to share the story with you – it is a once in a lifetime event.


Owen Washam
Hey Branden, when we first met I was a little cautious as you were from Michigan and I am a Buckeye by birth… Only kidding! I am glad we became friends and got to work together through our degrees. I always enjoyed your lectures about your Sanserveria collection or hearing the latest news from Fox and the JCRA. Take care and I look forward to hearing about and seeing your future work.

Lucy Bradley (Hort Faculty)
Congratulations Branden! Thank you for your help with images for the Extension Gardener Plant Database, Wishing you all the best!

Lis Meyer (Hort Teaching Faculty)
Congratulations Branden! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and thanks for all your hard work with PAX! Also, just know that whenever I think of you, I will remember you calling that parrot down out of the tree in front of Kilgore just like a Disney princess. 😀

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Branden Kowalysyn