ASU grad found unexpected passion in geography

Following graduation, Juliette Clermont is interested in working for the National Park Service and using her education for land conservation and sustainability.


Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2021 graduates.

It took just one geography class for Juliette Clermont to get hooked. 

Entering Arizona State University as an astrophysics major, Clermont took an introductory physical geography class with an enthused professor who piqued her interest. Her curiosity about the world and the places, spaces and relationships within it grew. She changed her major to geography the next semester. 

“I took ‘Intro to Physical Geography’ with Dr. Randy Cerveny and I knew it was for me,” said Clermont, who is graduating this December with a Bachelor of Science in geography and a geographic information science (GIS) certificate from ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. “Dr. Cerveny was so enthusiastic about geography and everything that it entails that I just had to take more classes.”

Clermont, who is interested in physical and planetary geography, says that although she didn’t know much about geography in the beginning, she was pleasantly surprised to learn about the different themes and broad range of topics geography covers.  

“I knew next to nothing about geography when I switched my major. It was definitely a leap in the dark for me, but it really paid off,” Clermont said. “I think the most surprising thing was how wide-ranging this degree is — I could go into meteorology, GIS services or even an ambassador program with a geography degree.” 

Following graduation, Clermont is interested in working for the National Park Service and using her education for land conservation and sustainability.

“I did a project a few years ago focused on land-use change in a national park that affected the habitability of the California condor, and I am sure that is where the love for conservation comes from,” Clermont said. “Shoutout to Professor (Andrew) Trgovac and GIS 311.” 

Ahead of commencement, we asked Clermont a few questions about her time at ASU.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Answer: I chose ASU because it was my home school. All of my family members went here, and I was excited to finish off the Clermont legacy here.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: School is hard, and you are not the only one struggling. Talk with your professors if you are struggling, utilize the counseling services at Student Services — please never forget that your health has to come first.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: I lived off campus so I did most of my studying at home, but I have a soft spot for the Hayden C5 classroom. It's where the Album Listening Club that I am a part of meets, and it's where I met so many of my best friends. Join clubs. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am still applying pretty much everywhere, but I would love to work somewhere that allows me to use my GIS certificate. I love GIS and mapmaking, and if that's what I did for the rest of my life, I would be happy.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Climate change. Even with $40 million, a number that I cannot even fathom, it wouldn't be enough. It would be more than what a lot of other countries are doing, but it would barely scratch the surface.

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