Grad Student Flexes Her Flower Power For The First Lady
May 28, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney
Sam Houston State University graduate student, Courtney Rosenbalm, and her mother Tina Rosenbalm, were among a group of 30 volunteers selected from around the country to flaunt their flair for floral design at the 107th First Ladies’ Luncheon in Washington, D.C., on May 14.
The luncheon, hosted by the Congressional Club, is an event that honors the First Lady of the United States and the charity of her choice each year. In addition, it is where business leaders, philanthropists and friends of the Congressional Club all gather in celebration of bipartisan community service.
Certified American Grown Organization sponsors all of the 21,000 stems of flowers and foliage that are used for the event. The organization recruits only the top floral designers in their field for a chance to shine a spotlight on American Grown blooms in front of a national audience. This year’s theme was the Indianapolis 500, chosen by the head designer to represent the chairman of Congressional Club’s home state.
In all, the volunteers made approximately 160 arrangements, two flower walls, 12,000 boutonnieres, and a head table with a cascading design.
Courtney and Tina’s floral backgrounds set them apart from the other 65 applications.
“My mom and I were honored to be selected,” Courtney said. “I also was excited to learn new techniques in floral design and to meet all the designers and growers from across the country, as well as meet the First Lady.”
Courtney’s interest in floral design started in high school when she took her first design class with her mother as the instructor. After graduating, they both decided to pursue their Master Floral Certifications through the Texas State Floral Association. It was not until Courtney began to seek her Interdisciplinary Agriculture degree from SHSU, that she discovered her true passion for plants and floral design.
Today, Courtney is in pursuing her masters of agriculture at SHSU and teaches both floral and horticulture labs.
“I know this is my true passion,” Courtney said. “Being involved in organizations at SHSU, as well as working as a floral design teaching assistant has given me public speaking, organization and floral design skills that helped me in obtaining this opportunity.”
In exchange for the volunteers’ hard work in designing the space, the Congressional Club funded their tickets to the luncheon which would normally cost $2500 a ticket.
“The event was amazing,” Courtney said. “We put in a lot of hard work, but it paid off. I loved meeting the people that we worked alongside with and hearing their stories. The best part was building relationships with designers and growers from all over the country.”
Courtney will graduate with her masters of agriculture in December 2020 and intends to start her own business designing flowers for events and weddings as well as growing flowers.
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