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NMSU Graduate One of Five Chosen for National Internshi

LAS CRUCES - National internship winner Travis Knoop began work at the country's largest heated greenhouse just three weeks after graduating from New Mexico State University.

Travis Knoop, a May agronomy graduate from New Mexico State University, is spending seven months in an internship at a North Carolina commercial greenhouse as one of five national winners selected by the American Floral Endowment. Knoop, recipient of the Vic and Margaret Ball internship, will work at Metrolina in Huntersville, N.C. (06/06/2005) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

Knoop (pronounced kuh-NOOP), is one of five recipients of a 2005 American Floral Endowment internship. "I was shocked that I got it," said Knoop, NMSU's first winner of a Vic and Margaret Ball internship since Keeley Muncrief in 1998.

The agronomy graduate from Deming started a seven-month stint with Metrolina, a highly automated commercial greenhouse in Huntersville, N.C., on May 30.

Metrolina nurtures 70 million seedlings and cuttings annually in 100 acres of heated greenhouses. Knoop requested an assignment in Metrolina's marketing and sales division to supplement his experience as a farm manager in Deming and crop production intern at Aldershot, a Las Cruces greenhouse. Fluent in Spanish, he lived in Santiago, Chile, while serving as a Mormon missionary.

Before transferring to NMSU, Knoop followed in his father's footsteps, majoring in agronomy at the University of Arizona. He switched to NMSU when Arizona dropped its agronomy major, also giving up his status as a track and field athlete.

"New Mexico State was just a better fit," Knoop said. "I loved how personally helpful professors are to students here." He said horticulture faculty members Geno Picchioni and John Mexal have supported him at NMSU.

Knoop's long-term goals include pursuing a master's degree and returning to the Southwest to start a greenhouse business in partnership with his dad, Frank. His wife, Stephanie, also graduated from NMSU in May, earning a degree in early childhood education.