The Toro Company congratulates Chase Straw and Tom Serensits as recipients of the 13th annual James R. Watson Scholarship.

Straw, Serensits named recipients of James R. Watson Scholarships

The Toro Company congratulates Chase Straw and Tom Serensits as recipients of the 13th annual James R. Watson Scholarship. Toro will present Straw and Serensits with their scholarships at the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Annual Awards Banquet on Friday, January 14, 2011 in Austin, TX.
Straw, an undergraduate from the University of Kentucky, recently earned his bachelor’s degree in Turfgrass Science. He is a member of the Kentucky Turfgrass Council, Kentucky Sports Turf Managers Association, the Ohio Turf Foundation and STMA. He has extensive experience working in professional sports turf venues, including Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals), Heinz Field (Pittsburgh Steelers), as well as fields for the Lexington Horseman (arena football team) and Lexington Legends (Single A affiliate of the Houston Astros). Straw plans to attend graduate school and has aspirations to work on a grounds crew of a professional football team in the future.
Serensits, a graduate student at Penn State University, is working on his Ph.D. degree in Agronomy. His Ph.D. research is focused on determining safety and performance characteristics of various playing surfaces. Serensits graduated with an undergraduate Turfgrass Science degree from Penn State in 2001. For three years, he worked as an assistant groundskeeper for the Philadelphia Eagles and then moved on to a position as a research technician, focusing on weed control in turf, at Virginia Tech’s Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center. He completed his Master’s Degree at Penn State in 2008, with a focus on improving surface stability of football fields. In addition to pursuing his Ph.D., Serensits currently manages the Center for Sports Surface Research at Penn State.
The James R. Watson Scholarship was established in 1998 in honor of Dr. James R. Watson, a long-time agronomist at The Toro Company. During Dr. Watson’s extensive career, he taught, conducted research, contributed to texts on turfgrass science and authored over 400 articles. Dr. Watson also received many awards and served on boards associated with the turfgrass industry. His career was dedicated to enhancing the communication between the business community and the research and academia arena of the turfgrass industry.
To be considered for the James R. Watson Scholarship, applicants are judged on academic preparation, cumulative grade point average, experience in sports turf management and references provided by student advisors, as well as previous or current employers. Applicants also are evaluated on their career objectives, as well as their contributions to their schools, departments and organizations to which they belong.