From Marines to the Mountains
Bill Perry Used Forest Service Pathways Program To Lock In a Full-time Forestry Position After Graduation
As a marine, William “Bill” Perry was a sergeant and commander of a Light Armored Vehicle, a mini tank and crew, that prepared for duty in Iraq.
As a student in the University of Idaho’s forestry program in the College of Natural Resources, Perry took charge of his grades to rank among the university’s top forestry students in the class of 2021.
He experienced challenges in both the Marine Corps and at U of I, said Perry, who grew up in Grangeville.
I was taught to work hard and do my best.William “Bill” Perry ’21
Completing both military and academic programs back-to-back has given him a sense of accomplishment, and most importantly as a civilian, a full-time occupation working for the U.S. Forest Service.
“Bill is extremely disciplined, does a great job balancing school and work life and is well-liked by his peers and other professors, which speaks volumes,” said Randall Brooks, Extension professor of forestry and Perry’s advisor.
When he returned to Idaho after serving four years in the Marine Corps, Perry knew he wanted a job in the mountains. He was initially hired as a U.S. Forest Service technician, and through the Forest Service Pathways Program worked his way into a full-time position while enrolled in U of I’s forestry program.
But the transition from marine to forester didn’t happen overnight.
“After the Marine Corps, it takes a while to adjust to civilian life,” Perry said. “The high pace and stress and lifestyle of the Marine Corps is completely different than what I experienced in the Forest Service and the university.”
The University of Idaho and the Forest Service provided me with the opportunities I needed to become who I wanted to become.William “Bill” Perry ’21
He was usually the oldest student in his classes, he said, “but everyone was very accommodating and welcoming and that helped me settle into academics.”
Perry joined forestry clubs and, when he wasn’t working for the Forest Service during summer months, he worked at the Pitkin Forest Nursery.
As a forester, Perry will oversee timber harvesting operations in the Clearwater National Forest.
“I was taught to work hard and do my best,” he said. “The University of Idaho and the Forest Service provided me with the opportunities I needed to become who I wanted to become.”
Article by Ralph Bartholdt, University Communications and Marketing
Photography by University of Idaho Creative Services.
Published in May 2021.