Amazing Students Profiles

David Gianino

David Gianino

With aspiration to own his own farm one day, David Gianino “…places a very high value on locally grown produce and sustainable farming practices. It is the only thing that will really help to change the current food system in our country.” David is active in UGA’s horticulture circles, working an internship at the UGArden and serving as president of the Horticulture Club.



High School:


Degree objective:

B.S. in horticulture

Other degrees:

I am pursuing two certificates through UGA: the Certificate in Organic Agriculture and the Certificate in Local Food Systems.

Expected graduation:

spring 2013

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

When I first moved to Athens, I was a sourpuss; I was away from home, all my friends, my family, my fiancé and my church. I thought it was going to take a long time to get back in the groove of being the happy, chipper old me. But it didn’t. I got connected immediately through the Horticulture Club, which I became heavily involved in and am now the president. There are so many like-minded people in Athens, and it is just amazing how smooth the transition was and continues to be with the folks here.

I have been nominated to be the outstanding junior for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and I have made the Dean’s List two semesters in a row at UGA.

The college has really pushed me to apply for scholarships, and I have never really been a big go-getter when it comes to scholarships, but this year, I applied like crazy. I have been awarded three scholarships: the Garden Club of Georgia, the Watson Brown Scholarship Foundation and the HOPE Scholarship. I am still waiting to hear back about a Horticulture Club scholarship and a National Garden Club of America scholarship.

Current Employment:

Currently, I work at the UGArden as an intern. I do daily tasks that include irrigation design and assembly, planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables, starting plants and land maintenance. I will be working extensively with the beehives that are located in the UGArden. Through this internship, I plan on doing a research project that is connected to my certificate’s requirements.

Family Ties to UGA:

My father, Stephen Gianino, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education.

I chose to attend UGA because…

UGA has one of the best horticulture degree programs in the U.S. The university is directly linked to the cooperative extension service, which hires graduates to work as extension agents and could potentially be a job opportunity after graduation. I like the fact that Athens isn’t too far away from the mountains, Atlanta, but most importantly, home. There are many scholarship opportunities through UGA as well. I feel like the university really does a good job of trying to find the right majors for students.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

hang out by the creamery, enjoy the afternoon at the amphitheater behind Miller Plant Sciences, work out/play racquetball at the Ramsey Center, run through campus, ride my bike and get together with friends.

When I have free time, I like…

to ride my bike, go to the mountains to hike and camp out, play racquetball at the Ramsey Center, garden (it’s one of my favorite things to do), read an in-depth action thriller novel, cook, meet up with friends downtown or go to concerts. There is so much to do in Athens, I don’t feel like I have enough free time. . . I’m always doing something.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

when I was 18, I was living in Savannah, taking some time off before I went to college. I was with some friends, and we went into a Goodwill store where there was a giant teddy bear. When I say giant I mean, it was almost as tall as I was. I looked at his price tag, and it was only $10. I bought him and took him to my car, which had bike racks on top. We duct taped him to the top and drove all around Savannah with the bear on top. His name was Theodore.

My favorite place to study is…

Two-Story Coffee Shop. I usually study at home, but I can’t make a cappuccino as well as they can over there.

My favorite professor is…

Dr. Tim Smalley and Dr. David Berle are my favorite professors.
Dr. Smalley is a great man who is so enthusiastic about plants and horticulture. He is a great resource for internships and jobs and really makes you feel proud to be a horticulture major.
Dr. Berle is my adviser, and I love him to death. He is focused, determined, and he will always make sure that students are taken care of. He is heavily involved in community activities and is the man in charge of the UGArden operations. He is very passionate about local food, which I am also very passionate about.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

I would want to share it with my grandparents. I don’t get to see them very often, as they live in Missouri. I miss them so much, and they have been a huge support to me and my family throughout the years. I would love to spend and afternoon with them.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

film an awesome movie. I would make it a fantasy, action, thriller, murder, mystery movie with awesome actors.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

travel all over the world. I have never been outside the U.S., so I want to see a lot of the world. More importantly, I want to travel with my family to Sicily. It is where my ancestors are from, and I really would love to see whether or not we still have family over there.
But I would love to travel, if money was not an issue.

After graduation, I plan to…

move back to Augusta; get married to my beautiful fiancé; travel to Costa Rica; purchase some land; own and operate a sustainable, low-impact, bio-intensive farm that focuses primarily on local food and sustainable growing practices; and start a family of my own. Those potatoes won’t plant themselves. I have wanted to farm for three years now, and I know it is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I place a very high value on locally-grown produce and sustainable farming practices. It is the only thing that will really help to change the current food system in our country, and it will benefit so many people. I also plan on opening a teaching center to offer workshops of how to farm, plant and maintain a small-scale garden, raise bees/cow/goats/chickens, and hopefully, increase the community’s knowledge on getting back to producing some of their own food.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

I will always remember my fellow students and professors. They are what drive the university. It’s what makes college so great; the people, I also will always remember Humans vs. Zombies. It was fun and intense. Try it!