Alumni Tale: Brett Desmarais ’03

What did you study at UNH?

What were you doing 1 year out of college?

My undergraduate studies didn’t immediately translate into a career path, but I knew that I wanted to pursue a professional degree in design. I attended a summer program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design that introduced me to the field of landscape architecture, and then spent the following year working in Portsmouth while applying to graduate programs.

What were you doing 5 years out of college?

Five years after graduating from UNH I was completing a master’s degree in landscape architecture at Cornell University. I had landed a fellowship that supported my research project on flood protection and land reclamation in the Netherlands, so I was studying Dutch and traveling around the western provinces of the country.

What were you doing 10 years out of college?

After graduate school I took a position with a large international architecture firm. This led me to live in a handful cities around the country while I traveled to work on projects across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. By this time I was licensed and was encountering a lot of exciting professional opportunities. I could see that the years of education and hard work were paying off.

What are you doing now?

Today I work for the City and County of San Francisco where I manage the design and construction of a variety of projects, including historic park and building renovations, as well as new parks and civic spaces. I enjoy the West Coast weather and lifestyle, but I still love coming back to New Hampshire to visit my family every summer!

How do you feel your time at UNH has had an impact on where you are today?

Art History majors learn how to think analytically and they learn how to write. These skills are the two most important things that I learned while I was UNH, and they are the foundation upon which all of my other educational and professional experience are built.

Why do you believe in UNH?

As a New Hampshire native I am proud to have a degree from UNH. I believe there is tremendous opportunity in the variety of academic and scholarship programs at the university.