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Students Learn About Scientific Careers by Job Shadowing at National Wetlands Research Center

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Quintin Brown, Brock Minvielle and Samantha Hill
Above: Job-shadow students Quintin Brown (left) and Brock Minvielle help biologist Samantha Hill assemble the microphone for a remote-recording device known as a "frog logger." The microphone, protected by a plastic 2-liter soda bottle and connected to a personal digital assistant (PDA), allows researchers to remotely record the calls of frogs in their natural habitats and later analyze the recordings to determine species types and population densities. [larger version]

Lian Richardson and John McCoy
Above: Lian Richardson (right), holding a dibble (planting bar) and calipers, is learning about planting trees and taking tree measurements from USGS biologist John McCoy. Lian is an 8th-grade student at Edgar Martin Middle School in Lafayette, Louisiana, and was one 12 students "shadowing a scientist" at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center. [larger version]
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) in Lafayette, Louisiana, is well known for its job-shadowing program for local students interested in careers in science and technology. Recently, on three different days, NWRC hosted 12 middle- and high-school students from Lafayette, Iberia, and Vermilion Parishes.

On the basis of the students' interests, USGS contractor Susan Horton (with IAP World Services, Inc.) designed schedules that allowed each student to spend time with biologists, geographers, and computer scientists in order to gain a realistic perspective of these careers. The scientists, both USGS employees and IAP World Services contractors, talked honestly with the students, sharing their life stories, educational choices, career paths, and, most importantly, the passion they feel for their work.

In the words of 8th-grader Katie May from Edgar Martin Middle School:

"I just wanted to thank you for letting me job-shadow at the Wetlands Center. It was a great opportunity for me, and I enjoyed it. I think that my favorite part was working with the amphibians that you have there. It gave me a kind of hands-on experience with handling animals. I hope that you keep doing job shadowing at the Wetlands Center because I know that anyone else who would come to job-shadow would have a blast. Tell the rest of the scientists that I visited thank you for showing me what it is really like to do their jobs. Once again, thank you for letting me come and job-shadow. I will never forget it."

Staff assisting with computer-science job shadowing included Chris Cretini (USGS), Adrienne Garber, Dayna Price, and Joey Richard (contractors) and Kevin Suir and Liz Hollerman (student interns). Those assisting in the biological sciences included Lori Randall, Ches Vervaeke, John McCoy, and Jacoby Carter (USGS) and Samantha Hill, Amy Bunch, Sergio Merino, Melissa Collins, Carrie Jobe, Kim Zeno, and Will Hedge (contractors). Also, scientists Joy Merino, Patty Rosel, and Nikki Vollmer of the National Marine Fisheries Service generously spent time sharing their research with students interested in marine biology.

Related Sound Waves Stories
MIT Summer Research Program Students Visit USGS in Woods Hole
September 2006
USGS Participates in Two Career Fairs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
July 2006
USGS Scientists Help Girls Expand Their Horizons at Science Workshops in Santa Cruz, California
April 2006
High-School Students Learn About Coastal and Marine Science Research
Dec. 2004 / Jan. 2005

Related Web Sites
USGS National Wetlands Research Center
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
The USGS and Science Education
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)

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New Bathymetric Map of Mona Passage

Research Beam Time at the Stanford Linear Accelerator

Tar Balls Washed Onto California Beaches

Outreach USGS Scientists Judge Science Fairs

Job Shadowing at National Wetlands Research Center

Meetings Florida Shelf Mapping Workshop Identifies State Priorities

Hanalei Watershed Workshop

Staff and Center News New Research Oceanographer Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

New Research Geologist Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

Four New Postdoctoral Fellows Will Research Coastal and Marine Topics


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