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Career Connections: Hydrologist

5 minutes

My name is Shannon Cook, and I'm a hydrogeologist, environmental hydrogeologist. There's hydrology and then there's hydrogeology. Hydrology is service water, and hydrogeology is groundwater. They're similar in that it's water. Often depends on water quality. But there's also the interaction of the service water with the ground, infiltrating through the soil, like the pond here-- you have interaction with the ground. Similarly with hydrogeology, whereas you have groundwater and its interaction with surface water, so the water table interacts with the pond. Different water layers or rivers, you have groundwater that flows into the river or water that flows out of the river into the ground. I've always loved rocks and always loved water, so I just kind of combined the two. Fortunately, somebody already combined the two, and I found it as hydrogeology. I received a bachelor's in geology, a bachelor of science, and then I also got a master's of science in hydrogeology. I work from home, have a great job, and there's different aspects of a hydrogeologist or a hydrologist. There's field work, so if you like to do field work, I recommend getting a bachelor's in science. But if you want to do analyst's work, more problem solving, conceptualization or characterization of your site, then I would recommend getting a master's of science. My day is usually I just get up, and I do a lot of-- I have several sites I'm working on currently. All have a different, unique situation or problems, and I analyze groundwater data from wells. People send me data. I create graphs, concentration versus time. Just try to find out, mainly try to conceptualize or characterize the contamination within a site, and then I find out the best way to remediate it, to clean it up, but also make it feasible for the the client to pay. Good parts are just being able to clean groundwater. Instances where I go to contaminated groundwater sites, where the groundwater is bad and has the possibility of migrating offsite to residential areas or someplace like that or wherever there's a well or something or before it reaches a river, just cleaning up that groundwater before the contamination can spread any further. Somewhat unfortunately but fortunately, there's contaminated groundwater everywhere. So if someone wants to stay in Ohio, there's plenty of jobs. One of the headquarters for EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is in Cincinnati. You can get a government job with the Ohio EPA or Ohio Department of Natural Resources, if you wanted to go more government regulatory. You can also go more private sector, such as with local consultant firms, or environmental consulting firms. You have that aspect. You can also stay in academia and do research for different institutions. In high school, it would be just sciences. That's for hydrogeology or hydrology. Earth sciences. I don't know if you can get geology. Math is important. Some don't like to hear that, but it is important, especially in hydrogeology, for calculations of groundwater movement. Or just get into geology. Get the basics of geology first. Read up on your own, walking around thinking, seeing how the landscape is, imagine how the water table flows underneath. By looking at the landscape, sometimes the freshwater table really mimics the topography of the land. Look at streams and rivers when you're walking. Is water flowing into it or is water flowing out? Just walk around with an objective mind and analyze nature as best you can.

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Hydrogeologist Shannon Cook talks about how he entered this field of science and what he does on a daily basis. For this career, be sure to study math, science, and geology. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 5 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 6
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
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Episode 7
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12