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UArizona Outstanding Student: Isabella Pershing to take her passion for ecology outside the Sonoran Desert

Isabella Pershing shares her journey to graduation
Isabella Pershing
Posted at 6:54 AM, May 08, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — This week KGUN 9 is highlighting some of the outstanding students graduating from the University of Arizona. Tucson native Isabella Pershing will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in conservation biology with a minor in communications.

Pershing found her passion for environmental education through internship experiences, but she said this isn’t the direction she expected to land in.

“If you would’ve asked me what I was doing when I was 10, I would’ve never considered that,” she said.

As a girl interested in science, she said it was a little intimidating, “I think I always felt not smart enough, or not strong enough to do it. So pushing myself to get this degree has been incredible.”

Eventually she found her place in her journey, and she hopes to educate others on the importance of their role in appreciating the environment.

“I get to share that with kids. They’re just as a part of the environment as anyone else and they have a right to protect it and a duty to protect it,” she said.

During her many experiences through her internships educating students from all over Tucson, her favorite was getting to teach at her elementary school.

“In one of my internships I was actually placed in the elementary school that I went to. I got to teach at Wheeler and it was this wonderful full circle moment,” she said.

Now, she’s wrapping up her time in Tucson. She’s spent the last part of her time here at the Cooper Center, an outdoor field trip location for Tucson Unified School District students to learn about native plants. Despite her love for desert ecology, she’s ready to take the next step.

“I’ve wanted to broaden my ecological understanding. I know the Sonoran Desert. I know these plants, I know these animals,” said Pershing.

Pershing already has a job offer at the Baton Rouge Zoo to join their educational team. She’s thankful for the University of Arizona for how it’s helped her prepare.

“There’s a lot to be done. And there’s a lot of opportunities. It will be useful where I go. And that’s a great feeling. I hope to improve the places I go and be an asset, and I think the U of A made me one."

Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.