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Jolisa Copeman at Longwood Gardens
UD grad Jolisa Copeman holds her Miss Delaware crown at Longwood Gardens, where she worked as a design intern. Copeman will compete in the 2019 Miss USA event on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada.

Plants, soil and Miss USA contest

Photos by Evan Krape

Jolisa Copeman earned UD degrees in environmental science, entrepreneurship and design

Ever since Jolisa Copeman was a little girl, she said, she liked to get her hands dirty, dig in the dirt and go on adventurous hikes in the mountains. Years later, the same holds true, but now the University of Delaware alumna, winner of Miss Delaware USA 2019, also dons a crown and glamorous attire. Copeman will compete in the 2019 Miss USA event on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada. FOX will broadcast the event beginning at 8 p.m. (EST).

Copeman was born in the Poconos and lived there until her family moved to Middletown, Delaware, where she discovered her love of horticulture, the art and practice of garden cultivation and management. Copeman graduated from UD in 2017 with an environmental science degree from the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Then she earned a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Design in 2018 through Horn Entrepreneurship, part of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. Besides completing her master’s degree, Copeman’s transformative 2018 also included an internship at Longwood Gardens and preparation for the Miss USA 2019 pageant.

During her Longwood Gardens internship, Copeman served as the assistant to the senior landscape designer. Her responsibilities varied from day to day, whether it be planting in the gardens or updating digital master plans for an upcoming seasonal exhibit. She was originally introduced to this life-changing opportunity in her landscape design class, taken with Jules Bruck, professor and Director of the Department of Landscape Architecture in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Copeman said she hopes to eventually work for an organization that helps create green spaces in urban environments where people can connect to nature. She has identified design firms that promote sustainable design and urban development that she hopes to work with.

Copeman graduated from UD in 2017 with an environmental science degree from the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Then she earned a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Design in 2018 through Horn Entrepreneurship, part of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.
Jolisa Copeman graduated from UD in 2017 with an environmental science degree from the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Then she earned a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Design in 2018 through Horn Entrepreneurship, part of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.

“Jolisa deeply believes in the power of horticulture to make a difference in the lives of young people,” Bruck said. “It is a wonderful thing to inspire young people to participate in a healthy and rewarding world of plants and design.”

During Copeman’s pageant preparation, she became an active board member of Healthy Foods For Healthy Kids, a nonprofit organization that specializes in school-based gardening programs, as well as working with Seed Your Future to educate middle school students on the importance of horticulture through Longwood Gardens’ participation in the national program.

“The fact that I studied plant and soil science as my concentration for my degree in environmental science, as well as my master’s in entrepreneurship and design definitely, makes me versatile,” Copeman said, while giving a tour of Longwood Gardens. “It’s exactly the toolkit that I need to excel in horticulture because I need to be able to portray to the public how important those skills are in reaching people.”

When Copeman was asked what she would do after participating in the Miss USA contest,  she said, “I want to continue to inspire youth to engage in their natural environment, and educate them about careers in horticulture with the Seed Your Future organization.

About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.

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