Emma Rider

Spring 2020


Degree: Bachelor of Science

Concentration: Production Systems and Entrepreneurship

Minor: Extension Education

How are you planning to use your degree?

I plan to use my degree in a way that inspires a love of plants and encourages sustainable horticultural practices.

List clubs and activities while in school.

  • Rowing Club
  • Horticulture Competition Team
  • Horticulture Club

Whom do you want to thank?

I’d like to thank every Horticulture professor I have had for the uniquely positive impact that they each had on my life. I’d also like to thank the friends that I have made along the way. You have made college (in and out of Kilgore Hall) an unforgettable experience and have made Raleigh feel like home. And my family – thank you for the constant encouragement even from hundreds of miles away.

A few others (yes, it’s a lot and yes, it’s necessary – these wonderful humans are the reason I’m finally graduating) –

Helen Kraus, my NC State mom – from the beginning it was obvious that you genuinely wanted the best for all of us and would patiently support us the entire way there. Your office door has always been open and I think I took full advantage of that, whether it was for a quick hug between classes, to see new pictures of your garden, or for the encouragement that I needed to get me through the week. Thank you for taking on such a memorable role in my undergraduate experience.

Lee Ivy and Lis Meyer – the thousands of miles that we have traveled with the Competition Team have made for more incredible memories than I can count. Lee, your ability to convince me that I am capable of so much more than I think has inspired me to learn countless new skills. Thank you for pushing me just far enough out of my comfort zone to teach me how to expand its limits on my own. Lis, your ability to relate has always made you so easy to talk to, whether it be about unusual plants and your chickens or for a word of life advice, thank you for always being a go-to when I need someone to talk to.

Issac Lewis and your office regulars – The hours spent in your office with the other regulars, swapping life updates and sharing weird plant stories over the candy bowl, mean more than I can express. You have cultivated a unique atmosphere in your office that has always seemed to bring people together. These conversations are by far the thing I’ve missed most over the last couple of months.

Dr. Fonteno – Over the past few years, you have become more of a life mentor than just my academic advisor. Our advising meetings always brought my focus back to the big picture and brought clarity to my passion for horticulture. Thank you for seeing the potential in me to have me TA your class, this was an invaluable experience that provided me with a set of skills I will be able to take with me through my future career.

Doug Ruhren and Tim Alderton, the JCRA garden managers – thank you for maintaining a space that was always made for great distraction yet an amazing learning environment. The collection of plants that you have maintained is like none other and I can’t wait to come back as an alumna to see the ever-changing displays. Working with you over the last year has been a highlight of my time at State.

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

The community within the department is by far the best thing about studying horticulture at NC State. Being surrounded by plant people who share their passion for horticulture in everything they do is energizing and inspiring.

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/emma-rider-ncsu

Advisor Comments (Bill Fonteno):

Emma hails from an agricultural family from the northeast.  She grew up in Delaware, in the family greenhouse and nursery business. Her extended family also has greenhouses in Buffalo, New York.  So, she came to NC State already knowing how to professionally grow plants.  In fact, when we were short on teaching assistants one semester, she kindly helped out in my Greenhouse Management class.  She did a marvelous job and her fellow students loved her.

Emma appears as quiet and unassuming.  But, she was always a “do-er,” never sitting still for very long.  She worked for an organization called, Water Step,- a group that takes donated footware and exchanges them for portable devices that purifies local water supplies- (“WaterStep”)  mostly in economically disadvantaged regions or countries.  She was part of the competition rowing team here at NCSU and many other projects while in school.

Emma has been a wonderful student since she arrived.  She has matured and has a focus on the future.  Even in this time of uncertainty, when businesses are shuttered and not hiring, I am happy to say she has decided to stay in horticulture and has obtained employment in the Research Triangle area.  We wish her all the luck now and in the future.

















Lee Ivy (Hort Teaching Faculty):
Emma, I will miss having you around as your spirit is positive and enjoyable. I look forward to hearing of your future successes.

Lis Meyer (Hort Teaching Faculty):
Emma, I will selfishly miss you because I mean, you get me. 😀 Thanks so much for all your hard work–on the team and in classes. Don’t be a stranger and keep us all updated on your next adventure!

Liz Driscoll (Hort Faculty)
Emma! It has been a joy to get to know you! I am so glad you served as a counselor for Hort Camp – you really stewarded so many young minds. You will be amazing wherever your path takes you!


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Emma Rider