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Meri Wacter: Inspiring the New Generation of Horticulturists

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NMSU chapter.

What’s you degree?

Horticulture. I’m all about plants.

Did you grow up surrounded by agriculture?

Not really. My early life was spent in the suburbs of Freemont, California, which is in the San Francisco Bay area, and then I moved out to Sandia Park which is in the mountains east of Albuquerque. I didn’t even know FFA [Future Farmers of America] existed until I got to college. I never knew about it. Really, for me, it was at-home gardening that I loved and I really got into. My first real job I was a gardener…at Wildlife West Nature Park and Zoo. So the produce I grew actually went to the animals.

Do you have any plans after graduation?

I’m working on that. The current thought is to go to San Francisco and get a tea connoisseurs, a tea blenders and tea masters certification — three different certifications. It’s a little pricey, but I really love tea. Even if I don’t wind up going into tea as an industry, I love tea, and I would love to at least learn about that. There’s another possibility that I might go into the greenhouse industry.

What drives you in your field?

Looking at how perfect water is for life… just the shape and properties of water make it so unique. God created it so we could live, and God created water in all of its perfection, all of its little intricacies to make our lives possible, and all life possible. Being able to see that through plants is what really keeps me passionate.

How can you change the world through horticulture?

That’s a hard one. The thing with agriculture is that we have enough food to feed the world, but we don’t feed the world. The problem is getting it to places and also being able to grow food in a more sustainable manner. Some of the main issues are getting the food to the plate, to the people in a moral capacity. What’s needed is education and research. Education also to encourage to be interested. Two percent of our population feeds 100 percent of our population. And our farmers? The average age is 60 years old. Our farmers are dying. We need more people interested in growing, not just more people growing. It’s one thing to say, “I can pay you more,” and so they go and do it. It’s another thing to have people actually be passionate. We need more people passionate about growing. We need more people interested in growing, and we need more people educated to grow. And especially in growing in areas where it is harder to grow food, because those are the areas that are struggling.

What’s the most random thing that has happened to you this past year?

I guess this past summer I went to Germany. I don’t really plan on doing much related to Germany like with my life and stuff, but I like Germany so I went and did a study abroad in Germany, and I had the time of my life.



My name is Carlos Trujillo and I am a junior at New Mexico State University who is pursuing a bachelor's degree in photojournalism and a minor in digital filmmaking.  I am from the beautiful Española Valley in the heart of northern New Mexico. I was brought up with family picnics in the mountains near Truchas, running barefoot down irrigated rows of crops in my grandfather's farm in Chimayó,  and participating in the annual matanza with my uncles (it was always my job to skin the heads). My childhood was truly one of a kind-I'm thankful for that.  Aside from 'the Valley',  I have also lived in Albuquerque, NM, Las Cruces, NM, and Ann Arbor, MI. When I get older, I'd love to travel and meet people from around the world.I was first introduced to photography as a middle schooler when I got my first cell phone that had a built-in camera. My start was definitely modest, but it kept the interest in the art form alive and encouraged me to buy my first point-and-shoot camera in high school. Eventually,  I got my first DSLR from Santa when I was a freshman in college. I've been hooked ever since. I love everything about photography. It's a rare art form that can transcend boundaries and has been used in everything from education to entertainment, and beyond. Photography is a reflection of the photographer. The art offers a unique form of self-expression that I believe is incredibly beautiful. Most importantly, photography has taught me to try seeing the world around me from another perspective. Things are never as they appear to be. Every day is another adventure. Aside from being a photographer, I tend to enjoy the little things in life. When I am at home I enjoy taking walks along the river with my dogs, I adore my mother's red chilé, and the best mornings are the ones when you wake up to a fresh layer of snow...or, at least, a school closure. Fall has always been my favorite time of the year because of my birthday, The Body by Stephen King is my favorite book,  and Oasis is definitely my favorite band. If I could have a conversation with anyone, living or dead, it would have to be Bill Watterson. I hate it when you pour yourself a bowl of cereal and there's no more milk. I also hate stumbling across something that's truly spectacular knowing I forgot a camera. Most of all, however, I hate goodbyes. Until next time,-Carlos  
Fernanda Teixeira is a senior at New Mexico State University who is majoring in Mass Communication and minoring in Advertising/Marketing. When she's not running around on campus, you can usually find her in the corner shoving her face with jellybeans. Her favorite hobbies include talking 24/7 about her dog, showing people photos of her dog, and seamlessly fitting her dog into everyday conversations. Did I mention she has a dog?