Garrett Vice graduated from the University in 2008 with his master’s degree in geology. During his time at the University, Vice worked as a graduate research assistant with the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG), where he studied geothermal systems in Nevada. He has stayed involved at the University since graduating by sitting on the board of the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering since 2015. He is the committee chair for the reputation and engagement for the Mackay School. He is also a steward for an endowment created by many alumni that supports undergraduate research.
Since receiving his master's degree, Vice has worked at ExxonMobil as a senior geoscientist. He is one of the company’s experts on structure and seal, where he identifies ways to manage hydrocarbon escape. He advises on projects all over the world, from every continent except for Antarctica. He also helps to identify prospects and teaches classes within ExxonMobil.
In 2021, Vice was named one of the inaugural Wolf Pack Way alumni. Each of the Wolf Pack Way alumni have exhibited successful careers and exceptional dedication to their work and their communities.
What does it mean to you to be a Wolf Pack Way alumnus?
I love this University, I loved my time here. I love promoting this school. It means a lot to me to be included on the Wolf Pack Way, it’s quite an honor.
What is your most memorable experience at the University?
We had a very tight-knit geology group that put people from hydrology, NMBG, the geology department and the seismic department together. We’d get together every Thursday night to catch up and discuss what we’d been up to with classes and work. That’s one memory I really enjoyed. I also went to every football game I could go to. They were just so much fun. Even with blizzards rolling through, we didn’t care. We were out there in the student section having a great time. And basketball games, I went to those too. Just enjoying the University lifestyle.
What person or resource on campus was most instrumental to helping you succeed?
That’s one thing I like to say about UNR, that the support network was fantastic. I was in NBMG and that’s where my advisor, Jim Faulds, was. I had a lot of support from individuals there including John Bell, Chris Henry and Jim Faulds. There were other people like Steve Wesnousky who as one of the professors that was always very supportive. Various individuals in the Mackay building would let us come over and use that space. Most importantly, the student geology groups were such an amazing support, to discuss new ideas and bounce ideas past each other and make plans to go to out to the field together. It's pretty amazing, the network that I built around here, both from a friendship standpoint as well as a professional one. I’m good friends with many of the people I went to school with and we talk on a regular basis. You really make lifelong friends here.
What was the most important thing you learned at the University that put you on your path to success?
Being a grad student at UNR, there’s a support network here. There’s also a drive to be independent. Learning that independence and learning how to network and talk to others were critical skills. I think that was the really important part, above going to class and getting some knowledge about geology. It went way beyond that. It was learning those life skills that I took out into the world. I use those geology skills, but it’s so important to learn how to communicate. I learned how to communicate with different folks to help get results for my thesis work, and to help other folks too. We all helped each other out. Once again it comes back to the fact that you develop such a tight-knit community here.
Is there a faculty member or mentor at the University that you were particularly close to?
Jim Faulds, my advisor, I was very close with. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without him. He really helped me with visualizing geology. Steve Wesnousky was by far my favorite professor I ever had. He always said to me, and I still use this when I mentor people or present, “Garrett, tell me a story,” because geology is a series of steps. There’s a story to be told. There are so many people, there are a lot of people at the University who are passionate about education, and it felt like they were passionate about my education. John Bell, Melissa Bell and other people I think really highly of who were very supportive of me, they are just a great group of people.