The scholarships that followed paid for her college education.
Ms. Hernández graduated from Tri-C this month with an Associate
of Applied Science degree and professional certificates in
landscape horticulture and landscape contracting. She leaves the
College with a flawless 4.0 GPA.
Along the way, she won scholarships from the Irrigation
Foundation, the Ohio Landscape Association, the Ohio Nursery and
Landscape Association, Proven Winners, STIHL and the Tree
Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund, among others.
The 24-year-old also received a Presidential Scholarship and
KeyBank Hispanic Scholarship through the Cuyahoga Community
“These scholarships have meant so much,” Ms. Hernández said.
“For someone to see potential in me … that’s just an incredible
feeling. You work harder knowing that people believe in your
Ms. Hernández enrolled at Tri-C in 2016, two years after
graduating near the top of her class at Green High School near
Akron. A debilitating illness that required surgery created the
gap in her studies.
Her long recovery led Ms. Hernández to Tri-C’s Eastern Campus in
Highland Hills, where she could start taking classes a short
drive from home.
An opportunity to shadow a horticulture class at the campus
introduced her to the College’s Plant Science and Landscape
Technology program. The field meshed her interest in science
with a love of being outdoors.
She immediately excelled in the nationally recognized program.
Her success in the classroom brought get-your-hands-dirty
internships with Willoway Nurseries in Avon and Hemlock
Landscapes in Geauga County.
One of her instructors, Anna De Toro, then pointed her
toward an opportunity with the research division of Davey. She
currently works as a lab assistant for the Kent-based tree
“Tri-C has done wonders for me,” Ms. Hernández said. “People at
the College always pushed me to be better. I knew I had their
Ms. Hernández shared her Tri-C story from the stage Dec. 17,
2019 at the College’s Fall Commencement, where she served as
student speaker. Classmates selected her for the honor.
Nearly 1,800 students graduated in addition to Ms. Hernández.
Following graduation, she intends to continue her studies at
The Ohio State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in
sustainable plant systems with an emphasis in horticulture. Ms.
Hernández earned enough in scholarships to cover her first year