Editor’s Note: This story, originally published in April 2017, has been updated to share a video created by Donavan.
Donavan Battle discovered a passion for horticulture and business while running his own lawn-care operation in high school. That led him to NC State’s Agricultural Institute, where, in a quick two years, he earned his associate’s degree.
While studying in the Ag Institute, he received the Tom and Nancy Bland Scholarship, the John Elwood Scott Scholarship and the Altria Agricultural Institute Scholarship.
Today, as Battle pursues a bachelor’s degree in horticultural science at NC State, he says collaboration, communication and hard work are key to success.
What led you to the Ag Institute at NC State?
I was in high school while accomplishing outdoor management skills such as mowing and communicating with clients. I maintained lawns for personal revenue. However, I did not have an official business. I realized I enjoyed this work, but needed more of an education. Pursuing an associate degree at North Carolina State University was my choice to educate myself with business practices and the essential landscaping procedures, which led me to the Ag Institute.
How would you describe your experience in AGI?
My experience in AGI was at a brisk pace. While studying ornamentals and landscapes, I learned that I pay particular attention to detail and enjoy expressing myself. Collaboration with students and faculty of various levels of educational experience and pursuit gave me an intuitive sense for future potential. Slowing down to capture memories (which can be viewed here) was almost as important as earning the degree. Advancing my studies toward a bachelor’s degree in horticulture science with a concentration in landscape design is my current endeavor. For independent interest, I have expanded dedication toward greenhouse, conservatory and outdoor display areas.
How did your experience in AGI help prepare you for your future?
During my AGI experience, access to industry information has helped prepare me for the future. This information was obtained by being consistent in communicating with Adviser and Coordinator of Horticultural Science Management Lee Ivy.
What do you think is the best thing about AGI?
The best thing about AGI is there is a great chance of potential when students and faculty compromise and work together.
What advice would you give a student who’s just about to start in AGI?
Amongst all of the stressful moments of trying to manage life and a college workload, remember you are only putting yourself through this test to see how the [agricultural] industry grades your level of understanding. Remind yourself of what led your curiosity down this path. Understand as you are stressed, oftentimes your professor is feeling the same pressure. We all are a team in this institution, no matter what level of education, nor background status. Do not expect industry professionals to answer all questions. This is a competitive industry. If your questions are not answered, assist yourself by engaging in an internship specified to your curiosity toward certain trades, topics and methods. “Think and Do.” Furthermore, welcome to the PACK.