Hydrogeologist and Research Professor at Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology at Montana Technological University, Butte.
"A background in farming and ranching can help you, as a scientist, accurately identify the research needs of rural Montanans."
I grew up next to a forested creek valley, and I spent a lot of time exploring with my sister and dogs. In high school I really liked math and physics, so I majored in physics in college and minored in math and geology. After college, I joined the Peace Corps and lived in Ghana, West Africa where I learned the true value of water (and many other things). Upon returning to the US, I received a graduate degree that would lead to a career in applied research in support of protecting groundwater - low temperature aqueous geochemistry. That mouthful really just means "groundwater quality".
Now I work with water-users in Montana's Powder River Basin, like irrigators, homeowners on a domestic well, and ranchers who need water for their stock. I design a study to address their questions and usually write a grant to fund it. After I've gathered the groundwater and surface-water data, I present the information in a variety of formats including presentations, pamphlets, and scientific reports.
Understanding the science is just the beginning. Public speaking and writing courses are also extremely valuable to a career in the sciences.