Mikayla Roth

  • Degree: Master of Horticultural Science (Spring 2022)
  • Advisor: Dr. Julieta Sherk


What was your degree(s) or focus?

Master’s of Horticultural Science, with my project focusing on Rooftop Farming and Gardening
I also am graduating with a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

How are you planning to use your degree?

At this time, I have accepted a job using my certificate in GIS, and hope in the future to combine the certificate and master’s degree to work on mapping plants.

Whom do you want to thank?

I want to thank my family for all their encouragement, and also my advisor, Julie, for being so supportive and immensely helpful. It was the first time in the distance education program for both of us, and her involvement and help definitely contributed to the success of the project and made it easier to be so far away from campus!

What is the best thing about studying horticulture at NC State?

Even though I was not on campus, virtually meeting the faculty and some of the students was a wonderful experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my classes, as well!

Do you have plans for after graduation? Are you currently working?

I am starting a job at Ursa Space Systems after graduation.

Advisor Comments (Dr. Julieta Sherk)

It is my great pleasure to celebrate Ms. Mikayla Roth’s Graduation.  I have known her as my graduate student since fall 2020. It has been wonderful to get to work with Mikayla on her Master of Horticultural Science project:

Green Roof Strategies for Substrate-based Food Production in Urban Areas

When she was in the process of applying to the program, she asked if I would be willing to take on a Distance Education graduate student.  I told her I had never done that before, but was certainly willing to try. We have since successfully navigated the Distance Education process. I have come to admire her, and appreciate her focus, her dedication, her independent thinking, her positivity and her professionalism during our 2-year journey together.

Since Mikayla lives in Ithaca, NY, she took the initiative to coordinate the completion of her extension project requirements through the extension programs at Cornell. There, she helped with Master Gardener Classes, integrated the Pest and Disease Management Class into the program, and helped to guide and run the activities associated with that program.

She presented her work at the VIII International Conference on Landscape and Urban Horticulture in Catania Italy, and she was selected to present at the NCSU 2022

Graduate Student Research Symposium, at which she presented from Ithaca via Zoom.

Although the MHS is a non-thesis Master’s program the scope of Mikayla’s project represents a full scientific inquiry. Within with her MHS program, Mikayla has also completed a Geographic Information Systems Graduate Certificate. Which she will use to visualize, analyze, and model systems to help in planning and decision-making processes. Mikayla will use this knowledge as she starts her new job at Ursa Space Systems building ground-breaking solutions to deliver global economic intelligence to organizations around the world. She will be mapping real-time changes in the physical world and will expand transparency globally.

Through the past 2 years, I have enjoyed hearing about her fun personal development.  During our time together, she became engaged to Austin, and acquired her little dog, Zeppelin, who has joined us for our meetings via Zoom, and I believe deserves a canine MHS degree of her own.

Mikayla came to us form the University of Minnesota where she got a Bachelor of Material Science and Engineering with a Chemistry minor.  She and I share the passion and curiosity about how innovation and creativity can be applied to green roofs to help combat the increasing negative impacts of climate change.

It has been a delight to work with Mikayla.  In her study, Mikayla reveals strategies that promote rooftop farming as a viable and critical approach for the positive future of all our cities.

Mikayla’s discoveries represent innovation for a more sustainable future that helps combat food insecurity and climate change. I am excited about sharing them broadly to promote accessible local food.

Thank you Mikayla for a great journey of inquiry!