WIT horticulture students win bursary to study in San Francisco and South of France

The Una McDermott Travel Bursary funds educational and skills-development horticulture-related trips outside of Ireland.

Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) School of Science and Computing is pleased to announce two winners of the 2022 Una McDermott Travel Bursary.

After a very competitive process, the two winners were named as Éilis Ward and Pedro Roche, who are both students on WIT’s three-year BSc in Horticulture.

Pedro studies in Teagasc’s Kildalton College and WIT’s main campus in Waterford city while Éilis studies her horticulture degree in the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin.

The Una McDermott Travel Bursary was established by the family of the late WIT and Teagasc horticulture lecturer Una McDermott to honour her memory. McDermott, a horticulturalist and course leader of the BSc in Horticulture (National Botanic Gardens) joined WIT in 2001 where she worked until her untimely passing in March 2018.

The competitive bursary funds educational and skills-development horticulture-related trips outside of Ireland.

During summer 2022, Pedro will travel for three months to San Francisco to take up a ‘mini apprenticeship’ with world-renowned Bonsai expert Eric Schrader. Short bonsai apprenticeships are a common practice in many Japanese bonsai nurseries. They allow bonsai students to work with trees of a quantity and quality that are not yet available in Ireland. Pedro is a past pupil of Coláiste Éamonn Rís/Wexford CBS who started on the BSc in Horticulture (Kildalton) in 2020.

BSc in Horticulture (Kildalton College) Programme Leader Dr Cara Daly says “I would like to congratulate Pedro on his award which is much deserved. We look forward to hearing about his trip and hope his efforts will inspire more people into horticulture where there are many interesting and fulfilling niches in which to become an expert.”

Éilis will travel to the South of France for four weeks during the summer to volunteer in the gardens of La Mouissone (Grasse) in the Provence of Côte d’Azur. A terraced garden set 400m above sea level, Éilis will learn about gardening in dry climates in an exceptionally diverse three-hectare garden with an olive grove, numerous potager plots, a bamboo garden, and a prairie garden. Éilis is a past pupil of Sacred Heart School, Tullamore, Co Offaly and started on the BSc in Horticulture (Botanic Gardens) in 2021.

BSc in Horticulture (Botanic Gardens) Programme Leader Yvonne Grace says “I hope Éilis has a wonderful learning experience in France and I look forward to her sharing her experience with us on her return.”

WIT is accepting entry to year 1, 2 and 3 via www.cao.ie of its two level seven horticulture degrees, with CAO late applications being accepted until 1 May. On 5 May the CAO change of mind facility opens.