Jonathan L. Su
Arboretum Ambassador and student employee
UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
Landscape Architecture + Environmental Design, B.S. 2015
“A landscape architect designs experiences for people through the use of physical and natural materials in a space. As a student in landscape architecture, I really wanted to know who these people were and the different materials they used in crafting experiences in space. The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden provided the perfect place for me to work with the Davis community and plants from around the world, in a realistic and ever-expanding setting. Volunteering, interning, and working with the Arboretum and Public Garden turned out better than I could ever imagine.
In the Arboretum Ambassador program, I worked with other ambassadors to creatively use the arboretum space to educate and engage community members ranging from university students to families. From there, I joined the staff. None of my college experiences can really compare to being hired as a landscape assistant with the Arboretum. I developed a pretty intimate understanding of the materials by working with them in the blazing, dry summers months and cloudy, wet winter months of the year.
Although the Arboretum is full of beautiful plants, the most colorful part of the arboretum were the staff and volunteers I worked with every day. From the beginning, I was introduced to passionate, professional individuals who were a huge pleasure to work with and learn from. I found this community of people invested in both my professional and personal growth. They helped me better understand the type of leader I was and supported me at times when life proved particularly difficult. This community of people helped me to acknowledge my potential and gave me opportunities to recognize it for myself.
Working in the Arboretum helped me understand that although I can’t do everything, I have developed the tools and confidence to give it a try in my own way. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked in the UC Davis Arboretum during my time in Davis. Although I will always cherish my experiences and everything I learned about horticulture and community engagement, most importantly I will cherish how much I have learned about and developed myself along the way.”