Dispatches from the Field: Karl Backhaus

Karl Backhaus (M.S. 2018)

Current Job Title: Museum Scientist I

Current Employer: New York State Museum

Describe your current job:
I am currently a Museum Scientist I for the New York State Geological Survey, a research division within the New York State Museum. My job involves creating geologic maps of areas across the State of New York. Mapping involves field work in these areas, drilling cores to determine what lies below the ground and geophysics/lab work to determine what makes up these materials. The final maps are submitted to both the state and federal governments for use to the public at no cost. Uses for these maps range from remediation work of contaminated sites to finding the locations of subsurface aquifers with clean water and aggregate resource exploration to help rebuild the roads in the State of New York and surrounding areas. 

This job allows me to interact with the public and school groups to help educate and answer questions on how the landscape came to be and what can it tells us. It helps get our youth involved in science and educate the public on the environment and show that we are working for them to help better the future!

What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
The biggest activity that helped prepare me for my career was getting involved with my department and also with my teachers and fellow classmates. Finding a niche, or helping with research both developed skills that I am still using today, but also made an impact on the things around me that helped make people look up to and relied on me to get things done. A strong work ethic, a will to learn and want to exceed will take anyone a long way!

What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
Do not be afraid to take on a challenge. A challenge may seem stressful, but breaking down the project or issue can ease this stress and the end result will be well worth it. Challenges bring out the best in us and help us get over adversity. The more will, the more that can be done and nothing can stop it!