Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Allison Voetsch Pinto

Name:  Allison Voetsch Pinto
Age: 32
Education (UR and additional): B.A. in Environmental Studies, University of Rochester, 2001. J.D. – Brooklyn Law School
Current city/state of residence: Staten Isand, New York
Job Title:  Attorney
Employer:  The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I chose to attend UR because of its excellent reputation, its size (the perfect number of students, I think!), the girls lacrosse program, and I must admit, the beautiful campus, where I could imagine myself playing Frisbee and reading a book outside (when it wasn’t snowing, that is.)   The diversity of the curriculum also excited me – so many interesting classes, and a true liberal arts school.

When and how did you choose your major?

I chose a major in environmental studies during my first year because of my interest in science and the environment – not necessarily because I was seeking a career in that field, but because I truly enjoyed learning the subject matter and was enthusiastic about the classes.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I played varsity lacrosse for a few years and also joined a sorority.  Although they sound like very different activities, both provided great friendships and lasting memories, and both fostered a great sense of team, and school, spirit.   I learned a lot from the experiences of all the people I was able to meet through a wider variety of activities.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I am currently an attorney working for a governmental agency in New York City, in its finance division.  I realize this sounds very different from my chosen major! I had not considered attending law school until after I graduated college and worked as a paralegal for a law firm.  I realized that I could marry my interests in law and science by studying environmental law. Law school broadened my interests even further, and led me to a position at a diverse transportation-focused agency where I am involved involved in many types of legal work, including environmental law.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

This is always a tricky one.  I try to keep in mind that it is not about balance on a daily or weekly basis, but in a “bigger picture” way.  There will always be times when work overshadows everything, or family matters take precedence, but as long as over time, things are balancing out in a way that matters to you (and each person is different), then you’re on track.  I have to remind myself constantly that my work will always be there, and sometimes I just have to leave it for the next morning and get home.  Periodically checking in with your priorities also helps!

What advice do you have for current students?

Take advantage of everything UR has to offer, because once you have graduated, you will really miss it!  Take a variety of classes – even if it has nothing to do with your major (especially if it doesn’t have anything to do with your major!) You might discover a new hobby, interest, or even career path! Definitely study abroad – it is an amazing opportunity that is difficult to recreate when you are no longer in school.