Posted August 30, 2017

From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, a Temple story begins

For years, first-year College of Liberal Arts student Emma Dowker had her heart set on coming to Temple. Follow her much-anticipated journey from Pittsburgh to her new home in White Hall.

Video Production: Gina Benigno and Louis Peluyera

Emma Dowker was met with a hot breeze as she leaned against the railing on Mount Washington’s scenic overlooks. In front of her stood Pittsburgh’s glass and concrete giants, still majestic through the August haze.

“This is my home,” she said.

She pointed to the building where her mother works and the bridge she remembers standing on to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. Pittsburgh is what’s familiar to her. Her eyes became wide, even through the harshness of the summer sun, as she realized that this would be the last time she saw the Pittsburgh skyline, at least for a few months.

“I’m ready for somewhere new. The world is a huge place and this is only one city. It’s crazy to imagine what the whole world has to be like, and I want to see it,” Dowker said.

While Pittsburgh will always be her home, Dowker was about to embark on a 300-mile journey to her new home where nothing was yet familiar: Temple.

This cross-state drive was one that she had been waiting nearly three years to make. It wasn’t another campus visit or orientation; it was finally the big move marking the beginning of her freshman year at Temple. Inspired by her desire to see the world, Dowker chose to major in political science and global studies. She also plans to study abroad.

Ever since I was a sophomore in high school, I felt like I would end up at Temple.
-- Emma Dowker, Class of 2021

“Emma only wanted to apply to Temple. She said that if she didn’t get in, then she would think about other schools to apply to,” Jill Dowker, Emma’s mother, said.

The time to think about other schools never came, and Dowker couldn’t be happier.

“Ever since I was a sophomore in high school, I felt like I would end up at Temple,” Dowker said. “There are so many opportunities and things to do—it’s the perfect fit for me.”

She wanted a new city, but didn’t want to be too far away from home. Immediately, she fell in love with Temple’s size and urban campus, as well as the green spaces that could make her forget that she’s in a massive city.

With just one day between Dowker and Temple, her feelings were the same as they were when she first visited campus years ago: She couldn’t wait to start her new life in Philadelphia.

Move-in day
On a quiet residential street in West Mifflin, an inner suburb of Pittsburgh, the Dowker family was ready to go by 7:30 a.m. The black SUV in the driveway was expertly packed and displayed a fresh Temple University sticker.

Mary Anne and Tony Talarek, Dowker’s grandparents, stood close by as the Dowkers made their final trips from their house to the car. The Talareks didn’t want to be in the way, but they wanted to be near enough so that they could squeeze in as many hugs as they could before it was departure time.

As eyes dampened and reddened, it was clear that sending Dowker off to Temple wasn’t easy for her family. What made it bearable was knowing how excited and ready she was to start her college career.

“Since I decided I wanted to go here and I applied, it’s always been in the future that I’ll go to Temple,” Dowker said. “Now, today is today and I start college.”

Watch the video above to see Dowker moving into her new home on North Broad Street.