Temple University Horticulture major Katie Roberts’ educational career began at Temple Ambler as many other journeys do.
It started with a road trip.
“I was a business major for one and a half years but I knew early on that simply wasn’t what I was meant to do with my life. I had a professor in Florida who was teaching a horticulture course and I simply fell in love with the program — his passion for the subject inspired me,” said Roberts, 21, who transferred to Temple from Florida Southern College in spring 2018. “I wanted to get closer to home (Middletown, N.J.) and I wanted to find a better horticulture program. It wasn’t long before I discovered Temple’s Horticulture program and the Ambler Campus.”
Roberts said she packed up all of her belongings and headed north.
“I’ll admit it was a little scary. The drive took me 18 hours over two days but once I set foot on the Ambler Campus, I felt like this was where I was supposed to be,” she said. “(Ambler Arboretum Director) Kathy Salisbury was my first introduction into the program and it certainly was a great first impression!”
Roberts was no stranger to plants and horticulture before arriving at Temple — it’s part of her DNA.
“My mom worked at a garden center. I grew up around plants — it was a wonderful experience,” she said. “Taking classes here, I felt like I knew what I was doing; it felt right. My ‘Ah ha!’ moment was when I realized I was learning because I wanted to know more about the subject. I wasn’t doing it because I felt I had to; I was doing it for me.”
Temple’s Horticulture program offered by the Tyler School of Art and Architecture “is a very close-knit community,” Roberts said.
“We’re all going through the same classes, the same experiences, together,” she said. “It’s wonderful to be around students and faculty that share your same interests and the Ambler Campus provides so many resources for us to learn from.”
Upon graduation, Roberts said, she’d like to work on controlling invasive plants.
“I want to learn more about ways to control invasives that won’t harm the ecosystem — using safe biological controls,” she said. “Transferring to Temple was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time.”
Taking that step, Roberts said, required a huge leap of faith.
“I moved from a major where I was established and comfortable into a major that I knew wasn’t going to easy. But I also knew it was going to be far more rewarding,” she said. “The advisors here worked with me to ensure that the work I had already put in counted when I transferred. There are people here to support you and ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.”
Since arriving at Temple Ambler, Roberts has never been a “leave your car, go to classes, return to your car” type of student.
“I didn’t want to just take classes here; I wanted to be part of what I think is a great, dedicated campus community. I’m currently Vice President of the Ambler Campus Student Life Board,” she said. “I wanted to be in a position where I could help other students connect with the campus and each other. I want to help build an active, involved student community.”
Roberts said she’s aware that picking up and starting over might not be the best — and certainly not the easiest — path for everyone “but don’t ignore what your heart and mind are telling you.”
“Don’t be sacred to take that leap if everything is telling you that you need a change. If you need to transfer to achieve your goals, it’s going to be for the best,” she said. “It’s never wrong to follow your dreams and see where they lead you.”