Meet undergraduate student Peter Apicella

Peter Apicella

Combining a passion for science and horticulture has helped Peter Apicella to distinguish himself as a UConn student. Peter took advantage of numerous opportunities from research to athletics to leadership. He provides a prime example of a well-rounded and motivated student. Read more about Peter’s experiences as a UConn student.

What attracted you to UConn? I initially came to UConn because of the financial aid it gave me. I am from New Jersey and the schools there would not have been as good of a value for me as UConn.

What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am a horticulture major. I chose this path because there are a lot of troublesome, but exciting, problems related to food production. I want to be a part of finding the solutions for these problems.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? I recently received an IDEA grant for funding from UConn. I am currently working on research with the Aronia berry. The berry is very high in antioxidants, but it does not taste very good. So, we are breeding it to be more palatable. It has been exciting for me to have such a serious research project in my undergraduate career. I think research is stimulating because you are trying to find something that has never been unveiled before.

Name some other experiences that have enriched your studies. This summer I had an internship working at a commercial, 40-acre greenhouse. I was labeled as a “grower in training” and worked on complex watering systems, pest management and figuring out how to fertilize crops.

I currently serve as a college ambassador for horticulture. I am also a part of the honors program and men’s crew team. I can be tough to balance all the activities, but I have found myself to be pretty successful managing my time so far. It is important to me to set goals so I am able to achieve everything I would like to each semester.

What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? The biggest challenge for me was declaring a major. I changed my major five times between different biology-related fields. I knew I was interested in plant science, but I did not understand how much opportunity there was with it at first.

When do you expect to graduate? What then? I plan to graduate in May 2018. I am currently applying to graduate programs. I would like to study either plant physiology or crop breeding. I hope to eventually receive my masters and PhD.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? At the beginning of every semester, I write out goals for myself, and then, at the end of the semester, I reflect on what I was able to accomplish. I have found that it really helps to keep me motivated.

By Erin Norris


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