Michael, a recent Southeast Missouri State University graduate, carried his enthusiasm for involvement at Southeast over to his graduate studies. He was student representative for his department's chair search, he was the student assistant to the Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Landscape Architects, and he was a student member of the student chapter of ASLA.
"It was great to be able to work with faculty as well as professionals in the field," he says.
Also, Michael will soon be a teaching assistant for classes in a study-abroad program called WorldTour.
"The 16 week long WorldTour will commence January 5th," he says, "We will study architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, and urban planning in 23 countries and nearly 60 cities throughout the world."
Michael is currently in Charlottesville, Va., where he was chosen to be the Rudy J. Favretti Fellow for the Garden Club of Virginia. He is researching the Frascati Estate, built in the 1820s by Thomas Jefferson's craftsman, John M. Perry. He says that tradition notes the estate had featured a formal English garden complete with brick serpentine walls, which were made famous by Jefferson at the University of Virginia.
"It is my duty to document the history of the garden and provide my recommendation for restoration, as well as a measured drawing of the current conditions," he says.
Michael says that it is hoped that this research will reveal that there were indeed serpentine walls as well as the footprint of the original gardens.
Michael comments, "I hope that this research will be published as well as turn into my thesis proposal."
He says he hopes to get the opportunity to visit the historic sites near Charlottesville, Va., and visit friends this summer.
After his summer in Charlottesville, Va., he will return to Ball State University to begin his second year of graduate study.
Michael graduated from Southeast with distinction in the Department of Agriculture and the Department of History. Michael accomplished this by completing two honor theses entitled "A Historic Landscape Master Plan and Plant List for the Hunter Log Cabin Preservation Laboratory and Historic Site," and "Rehabilitating Wildwood- A Landscape Reconstruction of the 19th Century Presidential Residence," which he presented at the 2007 American Society for Horticulture Science International Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"I chose Southeast because my family has always supported the school and are alumni. I could also receive an excellent education while being close to home," Michael says. "The scholarship program is also terrific, and the fact that I could be a double major and have no debt was in fact "priceless."
Michael passes the following advice on to future Southeast students: "Make sure to be active in some capacity on campus. There are tons of student groups out there. Your primary goal is to get an education, but the skills you can learn through student groups are just as important. There are religious, social, Greek, honor societies, and intramural sports groups, just to name a few. You'll make long-lasting friendships and contacts for your future career."