Bard Civic Engagement Essay Contest For Maine

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  5. Rocker Awarded Fellowship to Study Ferns with Experts

by Karrie Allen

Jessie Parrott ’16 has been awarded a Torrey Botanical Society Undergraduate and Graduate Student Training Fellowship to study at the Eagle Hill Institute in Maine with two experienced scientists.

At Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Jessie is concentrating on Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Political Ecology. In her first year, she took Introduction to Biology and General Botany with Donald McClelland, assistant professor of Environmental Science. He said it was during Biology she became interested in plants. In General Botany, she mastered botanical concepts and at the conclusion of the course, was able to discuss complex phenomena with ease.

At the end of the fall semester, Donald suggested Jessie join the Society, based in New York City. She joined in December and applied for a grant to study ferns, lychophytes, and specifically quillworts (isoetes) at Eagle Hill.

The Society supports student training with an annual award of $1,000. The objectives of the Society are “to promote interest in botany, and to collect and disseminate information on all phases of plant science.”

For a week at the end of August, Jessie will be studying with two world experts on ferns, Dr. Robbin Moran, curator of ferns at The New York Botanical Garden, and Dr. Carl Taylon, a research assistant at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Donald said he had a class with Robbin in graduate school and they have published scientific research together.

“The fellowship will allow Jess to work with two of the most important and influential living pteridologists (scientists who study ferns),” Donald said.

“Getting to work with staff, faculty, and students from all departments on campus allowed for me to learn so much from others, as well as dive into a team project that gave me the opportunity to give back to school.”

-Jessie Parrott ’16

Jessie is committed to getting her bachelor’s degree from Simon’s Rock and has already written her moderation statement, said her adviser, Tom Coote, coordinator of sustainability programming and visiting faculty in environmental science. He said her interests within environmental studies are quite broad, so he advised her to take part in January’s study abroad program in Montserrat, where she will study ecology and sustainability. Already looking ahead, her senior thesis will focus on environmental studies.

She was a project intern on the recently published Cool Sightings: A Year of Natural History at Simon’s Rock. Jessie said the project was rewarding and a great learning experience. “Getting to work with staff, faculty, and students from all departments on campus allowed for me to learn so much from others, as well as dive into a team project that gave me the opportunity to give back to school,” she said.

This spring, Jessie worked as a discovery garden docent at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She was a Bard Academy and algebra tutor and will be a proctor during the upcoming Academy year.

Jessie has been involved with Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA for nine summers and is currently a counselor. There is a master’s program through the Berkshire Outdoor Center at the YMCA she plans to pursue. “I am very passionate about working with kids and working outdoors, and getting kids interested and excited about science and being outside,” she said.

Another of her interests includes writing. This spring, Jessie placed third for Dramatic Writing in the Simon’s Rock Leslie Sander Writing Contest for her screenplay, Firm Happiness. She said the screenplay is driven to increase awareness of the decreasing area of the Arctic Circle, which is pushing the tree line farther north, impeding on many local ecosystems.

“My love for science makes its way into all parts of my life.”

--Jessie Parrott ’16

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Jessie plans to pursue a master’s degree and possibly a doctorate in marine biology and conservation or policy.

 Learning Beyond the Classroom

The first hundred days of FDR's presidency are justly famous, often viewed as a period of political action without equal in American history. Yet as historian David B. Woolner reveals, the last hundred might very well surpass them in drama and consequence.

Drawing on new evidence, Woolner shows how FDR called on every ounce of his diminishing energy to pursue what mattered most to him: the establishment of the United Nations, the reinvigoration of the New Deal, and the possibility of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. We see a president shorn of the usual distractions of office, a man whose sense of personal responsibility for the American people bore heavily upon him. As Woolner argues, even in declining health FDR displayed remarkable political talent and foresight as he focused his energies on shaping the peace to come.

David B. Woolner is senior fellow and resident historian of the Roosevelt Institute, professor of history at Marist College, and senior fellow of the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College.

This event is part of the James Clarke Chace Memorial Speaker Series, cosponsored and hosted by the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College and supported by Foreign Affairs magazine. It is free and open to the public by RSVP.
Sponsored by: Bard Globalization & International Affairs Program
Contact: Rachel Meyer

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