Eduardo Servin, State Manager for the Master Gardeners at New Mexico State University will be charged with overseeing Extension specialists and growing the Master Gardener program across all 33 counties in New Mexico. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

NMSU hires state manager for Master Gardeners program

New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has hired a state manager for the Master Gardeners program.

Eduardo Servin will be charged with overseeing Cooperative Extension Service specialists and growing the Master Gardener program across all 33 counties in New Mexico.

Servin graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s in political science. He then went on to attend the University of San Diego where he received his master’s in international relations. Before pursuing his Ph.D., Servin taught government at El Paso Community College and became a director of the college’s Upward Bound program, which aims at helping first-generation and low-income students. He also became an administrator for the college’s Title 5 grant.

Servin received his Ph.D. from NMSU with his focus being in educational management and development. Servin also served as the principal for the charter school, Premier, located in El Paso.

Servin received his Master Gardener title through a program in El Paso. The Master Gardener program, typically offered through land-grant universities like NMSU, provides intensive horticultural training to individuals who then volunteer as Master Gardeners in their communities by giving lectures, creating gardens, conducting research and many other projects.

“Once they go through the semester-long program, they can help the Extension services that typically is a county agent who has to answer calls, go out to schools and do educational outreach,” Servin said. “Training volunteers and teaching them about horticulture is going to really help county agents and us out.”

Servin said the program as a whole needs a lot of work and time dedicated to it and one of the biggest challenges will be to establish new ones and continue to grow the ones already in place.

“The biggest challenge of this job will be to try and grow the program statewide,” Servin said. “We need to help the programs that are already established to continue to progress and grow and then we need to help those that are small grow much bigger and then help the places where there’s not a program, to get one.”

Another challenge Servin faces is how to get information out to some of the smaller counties when it’s difficult to send an expert.

“Another challenge is in the past we’ve had to send specialists out to places that are about seven hours away to teach a very small class. We have to look into maybe looking at different platforms to get the information out there,” Servin said. “I think the future will probably hold distance learning measures. In the past, that wasn’t that easy because the broadband technology wasn’t there, but it’s a lot better now and will be easier to connect to the smaller places via the internet.”

While his job may bring some challenges, Servin looks forward to what he can do to expand the program.

“I enjoyed the Master Gardener program a lot and knew I wanted to do something with it,” Servin said. “I look at this job as a challenge because it needs a lot of help to grow and that’s what we plan on doing, but I know I’m going to enjoy doing it.”

Author:  Melissa R. Rutter – NMSU