Alumni Profiles - Meet Matthew Sarlo
Hometown: Matawan, NJ
Year of Graduation: 2009
Majors: Landscape Horticulture and Design, Plant Science
Undergraduate Campus Involvement:
Horticulture Club Secretary, Design Interest Group Secretary, University of Delaware Botanical Garden Volunteer, University of Delaware Marching Band
Current Position of Employment or Education:
Research Assistant at Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology
Describe your best Ag experience:
My best Ag experiences came while touring the amazing public gardens in our area with the Horticulture Club. It reaffirmed my interest in public gardens and exposed me to some of the most exquisite gardens. Joining also helped increase my friend base and networking opportunities.
Which Ag course was your favorite and why?
My favorite Ag courses were my soils classes: Introduction to Soil Science and Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition. I took these classes fully expecting to be bored and to sleep each class, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I found the material both interesting and practical, and I was exposed to a branch of science as important and complex as any other.
Tell us about your current position or program of study and what led you to that field.
I am currently a Research Assistant at Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology. I am in charge of a laboratory room used to grow plants hydroponically for further scientific testing and research. I gained a background in plant production from an internship with Mt. Cuba Center and Longwood Gardens. The work experience I gained at these two prestigious public gardens, as well as the networking I achieved, played a large role in my securing this position.
How did your College of Ag experiences prepare you for your current job or post-graduate education?
The College of Ag greatly encouraged its students to participate in internships and gain work experience in the fields that interested them. I applied to my first internships as a result of researching opportunities available to me and learning of the positive experiences my classmates were enjoying around me.
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
The greatest advice I could give students is to become informed. Most students are completely unaware of the opportunities available to them. The best thing a student can do is to research internships available, discover grad programs that interest them, and seek professions that exist. There is a vast variety of jobs that exist that students are totally unaware of because they have not been in the professional world long enough.
It is also may be unrealistic to believe you will find your dream job right out of college. Your career has to be developed, tweaked and adjusted as you learn more about the opportunities available to you. Gain work experience, find what interests you, pursue it, set professional goals for yourself, and never stop working towards them.