Women in Turf: Emma Seward

The 2023 graduate of Purdue University’s turf management program is turning a love of math, science and the outdoors into a promising future.


Emma Seward
Emma Seward is a 2023 graduate of Purdue University's Turf Management program. Photos courtesy of Emma Seward

Editor’s note: In honor of Women’s Golf Day 2023 — which will be celebrated for an entire week, May 31-June 6 — GCM has partnered with John Deere on a series of stories that highlight five women working and thriving in golf course management. These stories, told in the women’s own words, highlight career journeys, discuss challenges and lessons learned, offer advice to fellow women in turf, and suggest ways the industry can foster more-inclusive work environments. Stories will be posted daily through Monday, June 5.

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Emma Seward was always interested in athletics, but her first academic approach to the industry didn’t thrill her. Discovering the field of turf management turned her college experience around. A Turf Bowl veteran and 2023 graduate, Seward is starting her career in the industry as a research associate with Aqua-Aid.

I started my college career in a major, athletic training, that did not spark my interest. Finding turf management was one of the best things that happened to me while at Purdue. Turf management combines my love for math and science and allows me to have a career related to athletics and a career that allows me to work outdoors. Now that I have graduated, I have accepted a position at Aqua-Aid Solutions as a research associate.

At my first GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl (which is presented in partnership with John Deere) in 2022, I was able to attend the women-in-turf get-together and heard stories of many women currently in the industry. I learned how they got to where they are today, and it was very cool to meet all of them. I think the main takeaway I had was to never give up on your dreams, and that as a female, there is space for you in this industry.

I had an amazing time at the turf bowl this year. It was exciting getting to compete and see all our hard work come to fruition. I really enjoyed spending the week meeting new people, including other students from other universities and, of course, all the individual companies within the industry and learning what everyone has to offer.

Emma Seward
Seward is getting her industry career off to a promising start with a position as a research associate with Aqua Aid.

It is fun seeing and learning about all the new products that are up and coming and getting to see many demos on the trade show floor. I was introduced to Aqua-Aid Solutions (my employer) there and that's how the ball got rolling on my new career.

I would encourage leaders in our industry to keep supporting the women already here, as well as the women looking to join the industry through events like the women-in-turf meetings. These events allow us to get to know one another and share our stories and journeys. I’d also love to see more women invited to come volunteer at tournaments.

For women getting started in the field, I recommend you take all the opportunities you can. Don’t just focus on one sector of the industry too early. Volunteer at tournaments and go to conferences to help expand your network. You never know what opportunities that can lead to.

Never be scared to reach out to people on social media. The industry is very welcoming, and many are more than willing to offer you some advice, guide you in a certain pathway, and even extend internships to you.