May 5, 2011
Arielle Diggs is the completion of the very successful Temple University “hat trick” for her family.
Diggs, 23, of Philadelphia, is the third generation of her family to complete their education at Temple. Completing her Temple undergraduate degree — a BS in Education with a concentration in secondary education — in 2009, she walked down the graduation aisle once again in May, following in a family tradition begun by her mother and grandmother.
“There was never really any doubt that I would be a third generation Temple University graduate. I remember being on campus since the age of five,” laughed Diggs, who received her graduate degree in Higher Education Administration during the 124th Temple University Commencement Ceremony. “In the late 80s and early 90s, my mom would take me on campus — everything was Temple, Temple, Temple. I was completely sold on Temple during my first visit.”
Diggs’ mother, Jody Diggs, and grandmother, Nancy Diggs, decided to return to the classroom together, making their Temple experience a true family affair.
“They both completed their undergraduate degrees in criminal justice about one year apart from the other. I remember them taking classes and studying together,” Diggs said. “My mom returned to Temple 5 years ago and completed her Master’s in Social Work. When it was time for me to start looking at graduate schools, Temple was certainly my first choice.”
Now she has her sights firmly set on College of Liberal Arts’ Dean Teresa Scott Soufas’ job.
“Ultimately I want to be a dean,” she said with a smile. “I entered this field of study because I felt a need to improve the quality of education, not just in Philadelphia, but everywhere. My next step is to enter a doctoral program and Temple’s High Education Administration program is at the top of my list. Of course I’m also exploring the job market — the student loans won’t pay for themselves.”
Diggs has a great deal of experience juggling the multiple priorities of school — she’s maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout her graduate program — work, and family. A straight shot down Route 309 from her home in Mt Airy, Diggs discovered the Temple University Ambler campus, becoming part of the campus’ essential support staff while completing her degree.
“Initially I began working in the faculty office as a student worker. As part of my graduate program, I also needed to intern in an administrative capacity, which is how I started my internship with the Office of Student Life at Ambler,” she said. “My advisor, Dr. Corrinne Caldwell (former Dean of Temple University Ambler) talked to Dr. Wanda Lewis-Campbell (Assistant Dean for Student Life at Ambler) to help me develop professionally.”
As part of the internship, Diggs developed a community service program in April “to get our Landscape Architecture and Community and Regional Planning graduate students involved in a project in Philadelphia.”
“I put the program together in conjunction with the Friends of the Wissahickon who truly needed knowledgeable hands and bodies to help create a sustainable re-route for the Houston Meadow trail in Roxborough,” she said. “I contacted our departments and student organizations and directly recruited the students to participate. It was a real learning experience to see this project through from start to finish and to take on this level of responsibility to ensure its success.”
Diggs is no stranger to important responsibilities. With her mother’s very busy schedule, Diggs helps to ensure that her little brother Dakota, 9, is well taken care of between the two of them.
“That’s no problem at all — it’s family. You do anything for your family,” she said. “To keep all of my responsibilities straight, I work very hard to stay organized. I write a lot of lists, I have electronic calendars, and I keep everything set in my head. I know where I need to be and what I need to do each day — and, of course, you do need to set a little time aside to decompress.”
Her advice to students just starting their journey in higher education is simple.
“Learn to accept constructive criticism and advice — it’s only being given to you because people care about you,” she said. “Learn to listen closely and be organized!”