10 things ABOUT: Jorista Garrie

Photo by Liz Chrisman

Age: 38
Hometown: My hometown is Pretoria, South Africa. I’ve been in the River Valley for five and a half years and in the US for
11 years.
Occupation: Assistant Professor of Wildlife Science at Arkansas Tech University
Family: I’m married to my best friend and together we have two beautiful yellow Labradors and a cat. I have a brother who lives in Australia, and all my other family is still in South Africa.

1. What is your favorite book?

I love reading, and it is hard to pick a favorite. I love murder mysteries and thrillers, and my favorite author is Dick Francis who, sadly, passed away in 2010. I was assigned one of his books in my freshmen English literature class and was instantly hooked!

2. Dog or cat?

It doesn’t matter what I answer, someone in my household will be mad. If you ask the cat he will say that he’s my favorite, but I might lean a little toward the dogs. I do love dogs, but I can also never resist petting any cat that I see.

3. What do you think is the most positive aspect of living in the River Valley?

The large amount of outdoor space that is quickly and easily accessible. For someone that loves the outdoors it is convenient to be able to drive under 20 minutes and be at a hiking trail or camping spot.

4. What’s something no one would ever guess about you?

That I hate Thanksgiving food. I know. That’s terrible to say, but I hate that it is the same dishes every year, all over the country. Why can’t we have lasagna or grilled steaks or enchiladas? I try to make a different (non-traditional) dessert every year just to bring in some variation.

5. What is your favorite music genre and artist?

Hard to say. I listen to anything that has a good beat. Rock, alternative rock, folk-rock are all appealing genres right now. Bands like Imagine Dragons or Mumford and Sons come to mind.

6. What do you nerd out on?

Dogs and Science. I am involved with dog rescues, and I am a major advocate for adopting and not breeding dogs; I could talk for hours if someone would listen. But I also love all things science and can geek out for hours about cool science discoveries and neat aspects of biology or wildlife.

7. If you could change one thing about the River Valley, what would it be?

More bike and pedestrian paths, and more dog-friendly restaurants!

I like running and biking, but I am so nervous with the lack of bike paths in some areas. I love that Russellville now has a dog park, and there are quite a few walking trails, but I wish there were more dog-friendly options around.

8. Where is the one location in the River Valley you would tell a first-time visitor that they must go?

Mount Nebo. I walk or run the Bench trail almost weekly. Whether alone, with the dogs, or my husband, I thoroughly enjoy it every time. It is peaceful up there, the scenery is beautiful, and even when there are a lot of people it never feels crowded.

9. Pizza, tacos, cheeseburger, or fried chicken?

Pasta! I always say that I treat all food equally, and I would really eat anything, but I love pasta. If I had to pick from the list, probably a cheeseburger with fries.

10. What is your favorite quote? Could be from an inspirational person, could be an original.

“If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

This was not necessarily a saying in my house, but it was the attitude that my stepdad instilled in me. I try to keep that in mind even when I complete a small task.