Pursuing Poetry and Plants

Pursuing Poetry and Plants. Grace with buildings

Grace Burks  I Agricultural Sciences  I  Sustainability   I  Las Vegas, NV & Cary, NC

Writing Intensive Curriculum Culture of Writing Award in Agricultural Sciences  I  Environmental Justice Youth Art Debut Poetry Performer with Beyond Toxics & the NAACP Eugene/Springfield   I   Undergraduate Student Success Summit Keynote Performing Poet   I   Weaver Award for Undergraduate Poetry Winner & Honorable Mention 

Corvallis Swing Dance Society  I  Academy of American Poets

Passion for Plants

I have more than 100 trees in my driveway. They're all potted. And they're all olives. I have a few other fruit trees and plants in my house, including avocado seedlings and a wheelbarrow loaded with strawberries. We also moved our fridge to the other side of the kitchen and put a galvanized trashcan filled with greens and herbs in its place. 

Cultivating Colleagues

Beyond my home of plants galore, my workplace has far more plant colleagues than human ones. From August 2020 until November 2021, I worked as an olive and strawberry researcher, and, as of April 2021, I'm a freelance gardener. (Hence, the crazy plant lady.) Aside from being a soil and tree fanatic, I spend much of my free time writing poetry and being active outdoors. I love cycling, mountain biking, hiking, skiing, etc. 

Worldwide Perspective

In August 2019, I studied abroad in Oviedo, Spain and side tripped over to Portugal. Oviedo and my travels elsewhere introduced me to many Austrian restaurants, hikes, and traditions, including sidra (hard cider), markets, and my current passion for olives (so many amazing tapas!!). 

A Broad Local Experience 

From 2018 to 2022, I had the opportunity to work with several OSU affiliated and Corvallis located organizations, including the Organics Growers Club, OSU Soils Club, Corvallis Environmental Center (Sustainable Agriculture & English Spanish Translator Internships), Corvallis Multi-literacy Center (Community Volunteer & Language Program), INTO OSU (Cultural Ambassador Conversant Program), and OSU Honors College. My research experience during this time is also extensive, spanning from the Animal Sciences Department with dog-child attachment and dual-pasture management studies to the Horticulture Department with strawberry and olive experiments. Of these studies, I'm most passionate about the research on olive cold hardiness, most notably because I got to travel to several extension and collaborator sites for data collection. 

Beyond Academia

Set aside ample time for your hobbies and passions, especially if they are entirely distinct from your academia/career. If you can, make room in your degree plan to take a few courses of interest outside of the typical course route. Perhaps max out the PAC class limit? (At the very least, take BJJ with Blane.) Dabble into some intro group music courses? (Maybe get credit for playing guitar?)