Dallas Bretzman

Spring 2020 (MHS)


Degree: Master of Horticultural Science

Project Title: Identifying Key Design and Management Practices for the University Public Open Space

How are you planning to use your degree?

I am planning to purse teaching as a career after graduation. After two years of being a teaching assistant, I realize that there is nothing in the world I would rather do.

Whom do you want to thank?

A HUGE thank you to my advisor, mentor and fabulous friend, Professor Julie Sherk, for allowing me this opportunity of a lifetime to work with you. Here’s to collaborating on many more projects together!

Thank you to my dear husband, Carl. You amaze me every day with your never-ending love and support of every idea, whim, scheme, impulse, notion and whimsy that I have. You are my rock (and roll)!

Thank you to my Mom. They say, good mothers let you lick the beaters when they’re making a cake, but great mothers turn the mixer off first! Thank you for being the best mom with your never ending stream of encouraging words, hugs and for teaching me to bake that cake (and lick the beaters – mixer off)!

Family and Friends – Thank you for humoring my 2 years of temporary insanity of pursing my graduate degree. Your support and encouragement has been the steam that I needed in my engine to get to the finish line. LOVE.YOU.ALL!

To the Students – You are the light of my life. I am so grateful that I have been able to be a part of your education and you a part of mine.

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

Studying horticulture for me at NC State is a fine mix of science and art. It is using creativity to sustainably enhance health and quality of life for our ever changing world.

Advisor Comments (Julie Sherk):

It is my great pleasure to celebrate Ms. Dallas Bretzman whom I’ve known as a colleague since 2012 and as my graduate student since Fall 2018. It was exciting to get to work with Dallas on her MHS project: Identifying Key Design and Management Practices for the University Public Open Space.

Dallas is curious and always goes above and beyond expectations: As an example, she created her final presentation for the Hunt Library visualization lab. In order to do that Dallas had to coordinate: scheduling time in the lab, learned the new technology and spend many hours during many sessions to craft a magnificent presentation.  In the face of COVID 19, Dallas had to edit the presentation to a new format a week before she presented her final seminar in an online zoom format.  She did this with grace and professionalism and produced a wonderful talk!

Above and Beyond

Let me tell you a bit more about Dallas and her resilience and tenacity.  You already heard about eagerness to go above and beyond and there are many other examples of that.

She has been a TA for many of our horticultural Science landscape design classes and her and her enthusiasm makes her teaching very effective as she supports students in achieving desired educational goals.

  • Her approachability earned students respect, admiration and friendship.
  • Her generous and clever application of her already ample knowledge of plants and construction was invaluable in all these classes.
  • Her sensitivity for the different students and their particular learning styles helped her to reach all students.
  • She inspired students to be curios and to develop independent, rigorous and critical thinking.
  • She often stayed after class and supported students outside of class in order to help them with anything they needed.
  • She helped students by giving constructive feedback that set high expectations for the rigor that was necessary to achieve the learning objectives at a refined level.
  • She also helped to coordinate many field trips, during which she was a complete pleasure.

Dallas loves people and people love Dallas

I admire Dallas’ ability to have a profound understanding of people and social interactions.

During the many field trips, she always showed up with a box full of snacks for the students to have in the van. Her positive and buoyant personality made her a pleasure to travel with – I would join her on any trip anywhere.  We actually laughed and sang for 9 hours to and from Louisville!

Whether she was presenting to a community, leading the student group at Biltmore, reviewing student work in the studio, or one-on-one with her survey participants, she is at ease with people.

During the Design/Build class, because of her connections and good name in the industry, she was able to teach the students how procure donations for the plants, construction materials, and site furnishings, which made the project possible.

Academic scholarship

Dallas has a natural curiosity and extensive professional experience in the landscape industry.

From her experiences working with faculty and students on projects on the NCSU campus prior to beginning her master’s program, she discovered her passion for working with students.  The focus of her Master of Horticultural Science work is based on her desire to optimize higher performing landscapes by discovering the strategies used during the design process (including participation by faculty and students) and in the management of campus open spaces.

During her study, Dallas engaged students in participating on the inventory discovery phase of her pilot project.  She coordinated and led a student event on Earth Day that engaged students from multidisciplinary backgrounds to gather data about the physical, sensory and experiential aspect of her site on campus.  65 students and 10 faculty and staff participated in the day-long event.  It was a great success, and produced rich data for future use.  She also included students in the visual preference survey for part of her MHS study.  She has gone above and beyond, working during summer breaks and weekends to develop her master’s project.

She has submitted a poster to be presented this summer at the ASHS on her study and plans to present her work at a conference and submit the resulting paper to a scientific journal.  Further, the work with the HS 272 Design Build course in which she collaborated was presented as a poster at the NCSU Teaching and Learning Symposium, and an abstract has been accepted and will be presented at an international conference and will be published in a journal in future.

One more thing about this superwoman. She is an amazing baker and her and Carl’s pepper jellies are amazing. She has a supportive family, especially Carl and her mom; active participants who were not just behind the scenes. Even the student knew who Carl was and coined the term “the Carlpool”.  We also got to know and love the three T’s, Tuco, Taco and Mr.T, and experience their adventures and misadventures stuck in trees and emergency trips to the vet.

Dallas received the well-deserved “Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award” from the NC State Graduate School in March 2020.  I look forward to seeing Ms. Bretzman settled in the role she is most passionate about – teaching.




























Cory Wyatt:
Hey Dallas so proud of you taking the leap of going back for your master’s congratulations you’ve worked hard for it !!!

Dean and Dalia Carpenter:
Dallas —- Your perseverance inspires. So very proud of you and your success. Congratulations on conquering this important milestone! We love you.

Miranda Carpenter:
Way to go Dallas! You are a rockstar and a big inspiration! Congrats!! Can’t wait to celebrate soon! *Lots of happy dances for you until then!
Much Love,
Jack and Miranda Carpenter

Marybeth Piraneo
Congratulations Dallas! What an awesome achievement! Wishing you all the best!!!
Marybeth & Celia

Kathy, Bob, Tim Lynch
Congratulations! We think you are a rock star! Your hard work has paid off and you have so much to be proud of- the great future ahead for you promises joy and $$$. We love you so much! Kathy, Bob and Tim

Liane McNaughton
Way to go Dallas!!! Congratulations!
Hope I get to see you when I come back to visit Miranda and Jack this summer.

Bob Lynch
Wow! 😇 Another degree. Effort, determination, resilience, yes. All that matters but let’s not forget your great creativity and talent.

Lynn Swank
Congratulations Dallas!
Wishing you all the best.
You rock girl!

Erin Ives
Dallas, Ollie and I are so proud of you. It is difficult to go back to school again especially when it stops an income. You took a new challenge head-on, I am in awe of your courage, tenacity, and your ability to succeed in any environment. You took worked it like a rockstar at every turn. No one deserves this more than you.

Lani St. Hill
Congratulations Dallas!

All of the long hours and hard work have paid off! I’m so proud of you and your accomplishment. The NC State Horticultural Science Masters program is lucky to count you as an alumna!

I am so happy for you…though I know this is just the beginning of your many accolades!

Carl Piraneo
Congratulations my love- I am so proud of you. An Irish blessing for your future:
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies,
And quick to make friends.
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

Robin Carpenter
To our Beautiful daughter Dallas,
We are so proud of you and your accomplishments!!! Keep on growing and adding to the goodness and beauty in the world!
Congratulations, with all our love,
Mom & Mark

Hannah Rains
Dallas! You did it, like I always knew you would. I am so proud of you for chasing your dreams and accomplishing this awesome task! You are a superstar!! We love you!

Elaine Piraneo-Caraballo
Your awesomeness is off the charts!!! Making our family look stunning!! Tons of congrats!!💜

Brittany Bell
I’m so proud of you for completing your masters! You are a true friend, and incredible inspiration. Keep killing it out there!

Tom Skolnicki
Dallas!! What a milestone! I’m sure you are filled with many different thoughts and emotions right now. Do not forget to “live in the moment.” You can work to influence your future, but you can’t (truly) control it. You can remember the past, but you can’t change it. You can, however, take time to stop and appreciate where you are right now, and to appreciate what you’ve accomplished.

Wishing you all the best in your endeavors! –Tom

Diane Piraneo
Dear Dallas,
Congratulations on this high achievement! You are a super star! The rigorous courses of your Masters program have provided you with the knowledge and expertise that elevate you in the horticultural science field and guide your career path. We love you and share your disappointment in the postponement of your graduation ceremony – yet – honor and achievement are loud and proud right now!! I look forward to seeing you in the near future and giving you a big hug ‘in person’.
Love, Aunt Diane

Joshua Plowman
Remember that building bridges isn’t always easy, but a pathway can still be made…#StudentLedProjects

Congrats on your graduation!


Patrick Weldon
Congratulations Dallas!! Can’t wait to see what comes next!

Julia Hoffman
Dallas you did such an amazing job tackling this MA degree and killing it!! I’m so proud of you and I can’t wait to hear about a great teaching position you will take on…you will be a fabulous teacher!! Love you! 💗

Audrey C Piraneo
Dallas we are so proud of you and all of your accomplishments! You have worked so hard but it has all been worth it… You made it! We love you dearly. Carl and Audrey

Adam Bensley
Congratulations, Dallas!!!

Yetta Bretzman
You are totally FABULOUS! So proud of you.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you have imagined.
– Henry David Thoreau

Lee Ivy (Hort Teaching Faculty):
Congrats Dallas.  You ROCK!

Lucy Bradley (Hort Faculty)
So proud of you Dallas! You accomplished herculean tasks with grace and joy. Wonderful working with you. Wishing you all the best.

Lis Meyer (Hort Teaching Faculty)
Congrats Dallas!!! It’s been a pleasure to have you with the department the past few years!

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Dallas Bretzman