Southeast Student Honored with ASHS 2019 Outstanding Horticulture Student Award


Southeast Missouri State University senior Josh Thibodeaux has been honored with an American Society for Horticulture Science’s (ASHS) 2019 Outstanding Horticulture Student Award.

The award recognizes exceptional undergraduate students enrolled in horticulture or in a plant science/crop science department with an emphasis or major in horticulture. Students are nominated by their institution’s faculty and selected by ASHS on the basis of their academic achievements, leadership abilities, participation in campus/club activities and service to their departments.

Thibodeaux, an agribusiness major, horticulture option, from Festus, Missouri, is one of 13 recipients recognized from across the country in 2019.

“Being recognized by ASHS is amazing – they are a very well-known organization in the field of horticulture, so to be recognized by them means a lot,” said Thibodeaux. “It also feels great to be recognized by Southeast faculty — they are some of the brightest minds in their industry, so to be recognized by them is extremely special.”

Thibodeaux was nominated for the ASHS Outstanding Horticulture Student Award by Dr. Sven Svenson, professor of agriculture with Southeast’s Department of Agriculture.

His hard work in the classroom, where he holds a perfect 4.0 grade point average, along with his  contributions to Southeast’s horticulture program and student organizations made Thibodeaux the perfect choice for this national award, Svenson said.

“Josh is an elite, top 1 percent student at Southeast,” Svenson said. “He has keen interest and expanding expertise in all aspects of horticulture. We are very proud of his accomplishments.”

Thibodeaux is a student employee in Southeast’s Charles Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse, where he helps produce commercial crops ranging from poinsettias to Easter lilies to bedding plants. He frequently helps with the Charles Nemanick Alternative Agriculture Garden where he has received hands-on experience with nursery crops, landscape, turf grass and habitat restoration.

He is also a member of the SEMO Horticulture Club and the Lighthouse Campus Ministry, and has regularly attended industry professional meetings, such as the recent WESTERN in Kansas City, Missouri. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture awarded him the Outstanding Student in Agribusiness: Horticulture Award for the 2018-2019 academic year.

During the summer of 2018, Thibodeaux completed an internship at Chesterfield Valley Nursery in 2018 where he learned landscape design and installation. That experience, coupled with the skills and knowledge he gained at Southeast, led to a full-time job offer. After graduating this May, he will begin his career at Chesterfield Valley Nursery.

The education and experiential learning opportunities he has received at Southeast has helped to prepare him for the next step in his future, Thibodeaux said.

“The professors at Southeast have introduced me to people in my industry and really given me a step up,” he said. “They helped me find an internship, and in turn, a job for after graduation. I wouldn’t be in the position I am without them.”