Temple Owl Brooke Harkins didn’t have to go far to get far. She found her calling right at her alma mater.
A newly minted alumnus who graduated in May 2018 with a degree in Communication Studies, Harkins has been appointed Development Associate at Temple University Ambler. In her new role, she will provide essential support for the Ambler Campus Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University and the Ambler Campus Office of the Executive Director.
“My goal is to support these three offices, and the campus as a whole, as we continue to increase alumni involvement and raise awareness of everything that the campus has to offer. I want to reach out to alumni that we haven’t reached out to quite as much in recent years; who have the capacity and the interest in supporting our campus initiatives,” she said. “When I was a student, I didn’t have the opportunity to make a connection with the Ambler Campus. Now, after graduation, one visit and I was sold — it is an incredible location that is unlike anything else at the University.”
As Development Associate, Harkins will coordinate logistics associated with fundraising for the campus, Arboretum and campus-based programs. She will also provide organization support for a variety of special events, seminars, tours and non-credit programs. She will additionally be an important part of Homecoming, Alumni Weekend and other alumni activities, such as Convocation, Commencement and scholarship and award ceremonies.
“While I was a student, I had the good fortune to intern with the School of Podiatric Medicine in my junior and senior year. I had a great boss, Joseph Leso, Assistant Dean with the school, who was very supportive and wanted the interns in the office to have a broad range of experiences,” said Harkins, who also worked as a research assistant with the College of Public Health. “That is where I first experienced alumni relations and development and the first time I thought about a career in higher education. You didn’t have one specific role, and I think that was a key aspect to advancing my educational experience — I led the interview process for the student who would take the internship after me.”
As part of her new role, Harkins said she is particularly looking forward to honing her talents in event planning and management.
“I’m also looking forward to learning more about the Arboretum and our gardens. I’ve always had an appreciation for nature,” she said. “I think gaining a better understanding of the plants, of the growing techniques used, of design, will help me in communicating with donors.”
Harkins said her classroom and professional experience to date would definitely help in her approach to her Development Associate position.
“Communication Studies is a broad field. You are taking courses that provide a broad spectrum of the field — journalism, marketing, public relations,” said Harkins, who also plans to pursue her master’s in counseling psychology, higher education, criminal justice or a hybrid that combines all of her interests. “You have to be able to change your mindset and switch gears to focus on the task at hand. It’s a challenge and there is, of course, a learning curve, but I think that’s a good thing. Every day is something new, something different, something interesting — I think that also describes Temple Ambler very well!”