STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Matthew Golson
by Marlee Moore, Junior/Agricultural Communications
Matthew Golson came to Auburn University’s College of Agriculture with one goal in mind – get a degree in agronomy and soils turf management. What the Prattville native didn’t know was that he would spend 13 weeks the summer before his senior year in Green Bay, Wisconsin, interning with the Green Bay Packers grounds crew.
This summer was Matt’s first internship, although his hands-on turf experience began a little over a year ago with the AU Athletics Grounds Crew. As a member of the crew, Matt mows and paints fields, does mound and plate repair at Hitchcock Field and uses grass cultivation methods to produce safe, playable fields.
Matt heard about the Packers internship through the Sports Turf Management Association (STMA), of which he is a student member. Before heading north, he sent in a cover letter, resume and letter of recommendation and participated in a phone interview.
In Green Bay and at Lambeau Field, Matt sprayed agricultural materials, fertilized, aerated and helped manage Kentucky bluegrass grown in a sand-based field stitched with artificial fibers. All of the Packers’ practice and playing fields use Kentucky bluegrass, but this was the first time Matt had seen that grass grown outside of a pot.
He also got an up-close look at the work it takes to manage football fields at a professional level and insight on the difficulty of producing high-quality, playable surfaces in a vastly cooler climate than he had experienced in the South.
But Matt’s time in Green Bay wasn’t all work and no play.
Matt tasted a variety of dairy products during his internship and said that taking advantage of local fare, opportunities and getting in tune with a different culture can make an internship even better.
“Happy cows may come from California, but happier cows come from Wisconsin.”
A favorite haunt of his was Titletown Brewing Company, now a brewery and restaurant, which operates in what was originally the train station the Packers used for traveling.
Matt said his personal worldview was broadened during his time in Green Bay through conversations with people who held different beliefs.
“Each day, I started to gain a larger, slightly more complete view of the world in which I live.”
For Matt, this internship helped him in two ways – networking and confidence. The connections he made in Green Bay are the kind that can launch a fulfilling career, and the confidence and skills he gained will help advance that career.
Matt has some advice for students seeking internships: “Apply for several internships; don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make good contacts, and never burn bridges with them. Don’t panic when you fail at something; your supervisors probably made the same mistake when they started.”
As for post-graduation in spring 2015, Matt is unsure if he will stay at Auburn for graduate school in turfgrass management or head straight to work.
“The only solid goal I have is to strive to put forth my best effort every day in whatever I pursue.”