Current Job Title:
United States Geological Survey
Describe your current job:
I currently work on a statewide karst mapping project in New York State. This includes mainly GIS work to map soil, bedrock, and groundwater characteristics. By producing layers based on data gathered from drilling water and oil and gas wells, national and statewide soil maps, and LIDAR we can produce a usable tool for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Our goal is to map areas characterized by karst development and their surrounding buffer zones most susceptible to focused recharge. The DEC can then utilize our product to assess the risk of contaminated water entering our aquifers.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
Working on a project that requires a good deal of problem solving. While there have been similar projects done before, this is the first of its kind in terms of the sheer scale. In the absence of a set methodology we’ve had to make our own along the way as we encountered new obstacles. It’s a humbling experience always being reminded of how little we know.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
The WMU field camp was the catalyst for my career with the USGS. They provided me with the applicable skills to enter with a working proficiency in many areas that are essential to my job. The field camp also set me up with the USGS/NAGT opportunity so that I could enter into an internship that interested me right out of school.
What advice do you have for students looking for their career after college?
Admittedly I got lucky with my internship; usually the process of becoming a government employee is long and drawn out. However, there are plenty of careers waiting to be filled in hydrology, many of which are for recent graduates. Apply to as many as possible in as many places as possible. You will get the opportunity to travel and gain the experience necessary to end up where you choose. Also, keep your resume updated, you never know when the next opportunity will pop up.