Research soil scientist
Research on urban soil and landscapes
Research soil scientist
I consider myself a: Soil Scientist
My Highest Degree: Doctorate
I received my degrees from: B.A. Cedarville College Biology with Chemistry minor) M.S. Michigan State University (Soil physics) Ph.D. Virginia Tech. (Soil physics)
Length of Career: I have been a soil scientist for 25 years (post education).
What was your career path to your current position?
My interest is soils started when we moved to the country while I was in high school. The country soil had better soil quality than the disturbed soil in the suburbs. I did not get into soils until graduate school because I had not heard of land grant Universities before then. A post-doc in Minnesota (with USDA-ARS) gave valuable experience in image analysis of roots and soil.
What projects are you working on now? What interesting projects have you worked on/led in the past?
Now I have expanded up to the landscape scale, using GIS (which incorporates some aspects of image analysis). I examine movement of water, sediment, and nutrients. I also work on urban soils.
What do you find most interesting about your work (either currently or a story of a past experience)?
The work is important to maintain water and soil quality. I can use past training and experience to learn new procedures and apply to the landscape or urban environment.
What do you like best about your job and/or what do you like best about being in your profession?
I have the software, hardware, laboratory, and field tools to study landscape redistribution of water, soil, and nutrients.
What’s the one thing you would change about your job/profession that would make it better?
Sometimes travel restrictions reduce appropriate interaction with other scientists.
What would you say to someone thinking about entering the profession? What advice would you give for succeeding in this field?
Be willing to learn new subjects, software, and techniques. Write as much as you can, because you will spend a lot of time writing on the job.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I am involved in church ministries, I give rides to individuals, and I visit my friend in the nursing home.
If you have more questions about my career, feel free to contact me at:
Research Soil Scientist
USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment