Since graduating, Heineck has continued his work on not only turfgrass seed production, but also on perennial grains, at the University of Minnesota as a postdoctoral associate. He plans to continue contributing the field of turfgrass research through innovation in the seed production industry and also possibly branching out into other seed crops. “My true passion is conducting research focused on improving genetics and agronomics that benefit both the seed producer and also the consumer,” Heineck said. “I find helping one also helps the other.”
The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has selected Garett C. Heineck as the 2020 Award of Excellence recipient.
The award is given to outstanding doctorate candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrate overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research.
Heineck received his bachelor’s degree in crop and soil science with a minor in horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He went on to earn his master’s from University of Minnesota in applied plant science in the plant breeding and molecular genetics track. He then received his doctorate from University of Minnesota in the same program and wrote his dissertation entitled, “Pragmatic Methods for Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) Breeding.” The work completed throughout his six-year graduate program was aimed at developing improved turfgrass seed production systems and genetics for northern Minnesota seed growers.
“To be counted among the list of recipients for this award is a tremendous honor,” Heineck said. “It will certainly have a lasting impact on my scientific career, and I hope that my future endeavors warrant this prestigious accolade and continue to fulfill the vision of Professor Musser.”
“The qualifications for applicants are very high for the doctoral candidates that apply for the Foundation’s Award of Excellence, so all of the applicants are of the highest caliber,” Musser International Turfgrass Foundation President Frank Dobie said. “We strive to select the one candidate who we feel is the best of the best.”
The criteria for selecting award recipients include graduate work, academic record, dissertation, publications, leadership and extracurricular activities. To date, awards have been granted to doctoral students from Arizona, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, NC State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.