Natural Science and General Science with Teaching Majors become part of Freshman Year Experience at Temple Ambler

Learning about Natural Science

Temple University Ambler’s Freshman Year Experience is expanding to provide more opportunities for students making the transition from high school to college.

Beginning in fall 2019, Natural Science — a perfect entry point for almost any science or computer science major — and General Science with Teaching will be among the dozens of majors students may select when beginning their Temple experience at the Ambler Campus.

“The Freshman Year Experience at Temple Ambler allows students to choose from one of several Temple programs and complete their first year at the Ambler Campus,” Tara Stasik, Director of Academic and Student Services at Temple Ambler. “Students then have the option to continue at Temple Ambler in one of the majors that may be completed entirely on campus or transition to Main Campus as a sophomore.”

According to Dr. Susan Jansen Varnum, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs and Science Education in Temple’s College of Science and Technology, students that choose to pursue the Natural Science major during their freshman experience “will take introductory coursework that is essential for all of the natural sciences and computer science.”

“The program is a wonderful gateway major to the sciences. Being in the natural sciences would not delay a student from obtaining a biology or chemistry degree, for example, because all of the courses in the natural science major are required for those majors as well,” she said. “It has all the necessary courses for professional programs such as dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and optometry. All of the requirements for those programs can be fulfilled in this major.”

Natural Science, Varnum said, is “a wide-open field that leads to a very deep pool of professional opportunities.”

“With natural science, you are engaged in the world around you and the world within. The major can lead to fields such as bio-technology, bio-informatics and forensic science — just in the last year, four natural science students completed the professional science master in forensic chemistry,” she said. “One of our optometry students told us the natural science major provided a great foundation for his profession. It is a major with zero unemployment — while the number of offerings in biology laboratory jobs may be limited, scientific writing positions abound; this major is an excellent preparation for scientific writing.”

Dallas Cherry, Jr., graduated from the Natural Science program in 2016. In December 2018, he completed Temple’s MS in Forensic Chemistry. 

“Initially, I never knew about natural science as a major. A professor suggested that I explore Natural Science as the director (Dr. Varnum) could provide me with some extra guidance and the help that I needed. This major prepared me for my career simply because it opened my eyes to many more possibilities that I never knew existed,” he said. “Currently I am a purification chemist at Curaleaf where I've been allowed to see the impact that I've been able to make on patients suffering from various ailments. This major allows students to see that there are many different opportunities present within specific scientific backgrounds — you learn everything in a broader sense and then personally choose the path you want to study whether it be chemistry, biology or something else.”

When he was in the program, Garry Cole’s area of focus was Earth and Environmental Science. Today, he is the Program Coordinator, Graduate Studies, STEM Education & Outreach, in the College of Science and Technology.

“The breadth of the program is what drew me in. I wanted to continue to learn about chemistry, biology, geology and physics without having to single anything out,” he said. “By the time I got to a graduate degree, I was able to pursue almost anything I wanted, rather than be limited. I currently work at Temple, but recently accepted a position at West Point working for the Department of the Treasury. There, I will be performing instrumental analysis to test for precious metal purity content and for counterfeit currency.”

Students at Temple Ambler will be able to start a BA or BS in Natural Science.

“The BA expands into more general knowledge with a focus on communication and writing while the BS has more science requirements,” said Varnum. “In both the BA and BS, students will take courses in a disciplinary focus, such as biology or chemistry.”

According to Varnum, a degree in General Science with Teaching prepares students for a career in secondary school teaching and places students on a direct path to become eligible for Pennsylvania teacher certification.  

“The General Science with Teaching major is similar to the Natural Science major in that it’s structured to include necessary courses for the teaching major. It is a College of Science and Technology degree offered in partnership with the College of Education that emphasizes science practice as part of teaching,” she said.  “Students who complete this major are usually certified to teach 7th to 9th-grade science and their science specialty; chemistry, physics earth science or biology.”

 Natural Science and General Science with Teaching fit well with Temple Ambler’s curriculum, said Varnum.

The Ambler Campus offers small class sizes, a specialized schedule and a beautiful environment in which to learn. We’re also able to offer a lot of career support and targeted internships to Natural Science majors,” she said. “Students will get to experience both the Ambler and Main campuses and we are able to provide one-on-one advising.”

Cherry said joining this major “has been one of the best decisions of my life.”

“I believe that to truly be successful in professional programs, one would have to have experience in fields outside of just what they're studying. This is what makes someone even more skilled and more competitive,” he said. “Nothing good comes without hard work and students have to put in the hard work to be successful in this major, but there is very a high likelihood that they will be successful with the help and support provided throughout the program.”

As part of the Freshman Year Experience, Temple Ambler provides financial assistance to freshman students that qualify to ensure they get their first year off on the right foot. All incoming full-time freshman students beginning at Temple Ambler receive the Freshman Year Experience grant. For Pennsylvania residents, the grant provides $3,500 for in-state students. Out-of-state students, who pay higher tuition than state residents, will receive $5,600.

Learn more about the Freshman Year Experience or contact the Ambler Campus Admissions Office at or 267-468-8100.