The future is bright
By Sheila Babbitt
As graduation grew near, Grace Pallissard searched for jobs that
would allow her to be immersed in nature while contributing to its
health and conservation.
Eventually she discovered a job outlining the need for a botanist to
assess and monitor remote land in the desert of Nevada.
Inspired by time spent outdoors and sustainable living arrangements,
Pallissard’s degree in natural resources management will be put to use
immediately following Commencement.
Pallissard will be working for a consulting and engineering firm that
does contract work for the Federal Bureau of Land Management. The firm
works on projects that often involve ecologically conscious
landscaping and hydraulics that require botanists to make sure the
ecosystems in which they are working remain balanced.
The job requires eight-day shifts, hiking to remote locations in the
desert to assess soil health, take inventory of plant life, spread
seed, thin invasions and occasionally oversee prescribed burns.
Pallissard is not at all intimidated by the challenge of spending
uninterrupted stretches of time in the desert. “I’m excited for the
opportunity to preserve and connect with nature as my full-time job.”
Pallissard gravitated to this major after a summer living off the
grid deep in the Appalachian mountains uncovered her passion for the
outdoors. There, she and others lived off the land and were 100
percent self sustaining.
“I went to West Virginia as a social work major, but seeing the
beauty when the environment and people coexist drove me to make the
jump to natural resources management,” said Pallissard. “I wanted to
maintain that relationship.”
Her classes up to that point had discussed many social issues in the
world. “I knew I needed to spend my time doing something to make a
positive impact, but I asked myself, ‘What positive change would be
left to make if there was no sustainable ecosystem left for us to live in?’”
These moral battles were overwhelming at times, but Pallissard found
comfort in the natural balance of nature. “There’s an innocence about
it that drew me in and brought me peace.”
As she sets out to wrap up her undergraduate career, Pallissard
reflects on her journey over the last four years.
“Last summer I knew I had made the right decision for my future and
my happiness in switching paths. I was working 50 feet in the air tied
to a tree using a chainsaw,” she laughed. “I knew an office job would
never be a good fit for me.”
The Winter 2022 Commencement ceremonies will be held on April 29
and 30. A livestream will be available
on the day of the event.
Read more about the events here