STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Brad Triplett
BY Marlee Moore, Junior/AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS
The Auburn Creed states that Auburn University men and women “believe in work, hard work.” Brad Triplett, a 29-year-old horticulture landscape design student, lives out the Creed’s belief in work, determination and the importance of a quality education as he works, and pays, his way through school.
Brad has worked at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Oxford for 11 years, part time since his enrollment at Auburn, and has also worked part time at WM Grocery in Heflin and Wedowee.
The semesters he is enrolled at Auburn, Brad commutes 2 to 5 days a week from Hollis Crossroads, an hour and 40 minute drive one way.
“I’ve pretty much gotten used to the drive,” Brad says.” It, along with working my way through school, has helped motivate me to learn all I can and make good grades.”
As a child, Brad’s grandfather Howard Triplett, an Auburn-educated truck farmer, cultivated Brad’s love of plants as he taught him how to seed, plant and prune.
Brad’s first summer at Lowe’s in 2004 further grew his love of horticulture through his work in the outdoor, lawn and garden department. That summer, Brad bought a ‘Pearl Essence’ hybrid tea rose, the start of his personal rose collection, and now tends to approximately 80 different roses, including antique roses, English roses, grandiflora and 12 hybrids of his own work.
“I chose Auburn because it was said to be one of the best, if not the best, school for horticulture,” Brad says.
At Auburn, Brad has been highly influenced through classes with Harry Ponder, a horticulture professor, and works on campus in a lab with Kira Bowen, a professor in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. His research is on micropropogating, or culturing, roses from plant tissue. But Brad doesn’t limit himself to breeding roses. He also breeds morning glories, squash and peppers.
When Brad enrolled in classes for the spring 2015 semester, he had not been at Auburn since fall 2013, and was awarded a Pell Grant to help with tuition. But, as life has often shown him, the road ahead isn’t always rosy.
After enrolling, Brad discovered the transmission in his truck needed to be rebuilt, another obstacle and unexpected cost that has strengthened his Christian faith.
“There have been several times since I started school that I did not know what I was going to do,” Brad says, “but God has always found a way.”
Between classes, Brad has breaks during which he catches up on homework and works in the lab. He spends his evenings doing schoolwork and spending time with his fiancé, Ariel.
Brad’s family has been a strong support system during his pursuit of an education. His mother, Angie, bought him a reliable truck for his commute to Auburn, and he occasionally stays with his aunt Diane and uncle Jerry in Heflin. His uncle Alton has helped defray tuition costs, and his cousin Steven has helped him apply for scholarships and grants.
“I haven’t given up,” Brad says. “And I encourage others to never give up and, like my father, Jimmy, has taught me, always put God first. Life isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it.”
Brad hopes to graduate in May 2016, obtain a master’s degree and doctorate in horticulture and work for a university or plant breeding company.
Marlee Moore is a junior studying agricultural communications and is originally from Thomasville, Alabama. She is the Ag Ambassador education chair, Ag Council reporter and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow vice president, in addition to being the editor of War Eagle Words.