CALS Alumna Highlight: Nakita Shim
University of Florida alumna Nakita Shim earned her undergraduate degree from the Horticultural Sciences Department in 2012. She was hired on the spot at the CALS Career Expo and now works as the Florida Keys Branch Manager and Branch Safety Leader for BrightView Landscape Services.
What brought you to CALS and your department? What first sparked your interest in your major?
I grew up on a banana/coconut farm in the Redlands of South Florida and have had a love for plants and the outdoors from a young age. My inspiration was my grandfather who worked hard for what he achieved and it paid off in a big way. His leadership within the community and especially within my family was my driving factor.
What do you find to be the coolest/best part of your job/career?
The best part of my job is I own my schedule. It changes from day to day and there is a good mixture of field and office time. I meet new people every day and have the opportunity to mentor and lead my team to success.
What are some exciting projects you have worked on in the course of your career?
Post-hurricane clean-ups are exciting projects to work on. The anxiousness of a storm is one thing, but the ability to help the community clean up after a storm immediately and rebuild lives and properties is fulfilling. I get to rebuild and re-landscape hotels and homeowner associations. The uniqueness and ability to create and design from a whim is amazing. To see a project from start to finish and see the happiness on a client’s face when the work is finished is completely satisfying.
What advice would you give to students who are interested in the same major/career path as you?
Make sure you do what you love and what works for you and your family. Even if the pay structure is not there, eventually it will be worth it. Once you do that, it won’t be work anymore, it will be a lifestyle. Once you reach that point, the sky is the limit and the opportunities are endless!
The Horticultural Sciences Department is is a team of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to improving fruit and vegetable production for the benefit of farmers and consumers. The Department offers high-quality education and training for undergraduate and graduate students to equip them with the skills needed to be successful in satisfying, high-paying careers. Find a CALS major that suits your interests by taking our majors quiz. You can also find information regarding our undergraduate and graduate programs on our website. Questions for Nakita Shim about her experiences in the Horticultural Sciences Department should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org