Physicist, National Geodetic Survey
I am a physical scientist with the Geosciences Research Division at the National Geodetic Survey. I spend most of my time working on positioning software, modeling, and research associated with the use of the Global Positioning System. The models and tools we develop are routinely used for crustal motion analysis, atmospheric modeling, and analysis of subsidence (land sinking) at specific areas along the U.S. coast.
There are many scientific problems to work on at NOAA. Scientists and engineers who can tackle specific problems are encouraged to pursue those areas in which they are most interested. Some scientific programs are demanding and intellectually challenging, but the rewards for obtaining a solution to a problem or establishing an outcome with your colleagues are very gratifying.
I wouldn’t say there is a particular portion of my job that is the hardest. During the course of a year, I encounter numerous problems; some of which can be solved in a few days and others which require months of collaboration with my colleagues. In the end, one becomes a master at managing time and resources.
There are many interactions which take place between the oceans and coasts as well as between the oceans and the atmosphere. These interactions often have a direct effect on a large number of resources we use today. One of our goals is to understand what dynamic changes occur between these environmental interfaces, so adequate modeling can help scientists and policy makers make the most efficient use of the Earth’s resources for today and for the future.
While in school, I attended a job fair where NOAA, along with the NOAA Corps, had a booth displaying many aspects of scientific life on a research ship. A year later, I was onboard the NOAA Ship Ferrel, working near Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
Follow any scientific interests you may have and determine what academic path you need to pursue to reach your goals. Don’t let one or two challenging science courses deter you! Remember your dream and work toward it.
The problems and programs that we work on today are only small pieces of many of the world’s larger puzzles. NOAA scientists tackle very large and complex scientific issues that often affect many people and natural resources worldwide.