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GRADUATE SOIL SCIENCE STUDENT: Lots Of Variety In The Responsibilities Of A Graduate Student

About this video 

Michael is a PhD soil science student in the International Agricultural Development program at UC Davis. After volunteering on agricultural projects in Mexico and Guatemala, he made the decision to change over from teaching English in high school to going back to school to study soil science. He tells us that what's great about being a graduate student is that you get to do so many different things - attend classes, do field work, attend conferences, write papers, and process data. You'll never get bored.

Degree: English Language and Literature
Job Title: Graduate Soil Science Student

Job Summary: Soil and Plant Scientists

Job Description

Soil and Plant Scientists conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

On-the-Job Training

Minimal

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$35,000 - $95,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
10 to 14 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Indoor, Outdoor, Office
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Likes working with hands, Problem solving skills, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, Mathematical skills

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='310'>Hi,</span> <span m='800'>my</span> <span m='1090'>name</span> <span m='1280'>is</span> <span m='1390'>Michael</span> <span m='1860'>Wolff.</span> <span m='2595'>I'm</span> <span m='3390'>33</span> <span m='3880'>years</span> <span m='4190'>old,</span> <span m='5143'>and</span> <span m='6070'>I</span> <span m='6410'>am</span> <span m='6750'>studying</span> <span m='7270'>soil</span> <span m='7640'>science</span> <span m='8080'>at</span> <span m='8240'>UC</span> <span m='8580'>Davis.</span> <span m='9220'>I'm</span> <span m='9400'>doing</span> <span m='9660'>a</span> <span m='9920'>PhD,</span> <span m='10730'>which</span> <span m='11370'>is</span> <span m='11810'>to</span> <span m='12140'>say</span> <span m='12390'>I'm</span> <span m='12470'>getting</span> <span m='12780'>a</span> <span m='13010'>doctorate.</span> <span m='15140'>And</span> <span m='15790'>I</span> <span m='15960'>actually</span> <span m='16560'>was</span> <span m='16770'>not</span> <span m='16990'>always</span> <span m='17360'>into</span> <span m='17540'>science.</span> <span m='18850'>I</span> <span m='18950'>was</span> <span m='19130'>a</span> <span m='19190'>high</span> <span m='19300'>school</span> <span m='19620'>English</span> <span m='19890'>teacher</span> <span m='20165'>for</span> <span m='20440'>three</span> <span m='20720'>years.</span> <span m='21564'>And</span> <span m='22410'>after</span> <span m='23340'>college,</span> <span m='23830'>I</span> <span m='23890'>majored</span> <span m='24945'>in</span> <span m='25200'>English,</span> <span m='26280'>and</span> <span m='27600'>I</span> <span m='27650'>spent</span> <span m='27930'>a</span> <span m='27970'>year</span> <span m='28360'>teaching</span> <span m='28690'>English</span> <span m='29070'>in</span> <span m='29230'>Russia.</span> </p><p><span m='30060'>And</span> <span m='30220'>then</span> <span m='30390'>I</span> <span m='30490'>spent</span> <span m='30910'>a</span> <span m='30980'>year</span> <span m='31540'>volunteering</span> <span m='32479'>on</span> <span m='32619'>some</span> <span m='32840'>agricultural</span> <span m='33440'>projects</span> <span m='34050'>in</span> <span m='34160'>Mexico</span> <span m='34480'>and</span> <span m='34800'>Guatemala,</span> <span m='35330'>and</span> <span m='35550'>I</span> <span m='35640'>really</span> <span m='35910'>decided</span> <span m='36380'>to</span> <span m='36430'>change</span> <span m='36705'>my</span> <span m='36980'>direction.</span> <span m='38120'>And</span> <span m='38340'>I</span> <span m='38420'>always</span> <span m='38730'>say</span> <span m='41710'>thank</span> <span m='41750'>heavens</span> <span m='42010'>I</span> <span m='42270'>live in</span> <span m='42470'>the</span> <span m='42570'>US</span> <span m='43050'>because,</span> <span m='43790'>it</span> <span m='43900'>wasn't</span> <span m='44370'>quite</span> <span m='45560'>too</span> <span m='45760'>late.</span> <span m='46840'>I</span> <span m='47450'>was</span> <span m='47670'>able</span> <span m='47900'>to</span> <span m='47990'>get</span> <span m='48210'>into</span> <span m='49230'>a</span> <span m='49540'>program</span> <span m='50040'>called</span> <span m='50350'>International</span> <span m='51060'>Agricultural</span> <span m='52550'>Development</span> <span m='53450'>here at</span> <span m='53770'>UC</span> <span m='54110'>Davis.</span> <span m='55090'>And</span> <span m='55510'>from</span> <span m='55720'>there,</span> <span m='55990'>I</span> <span m='56060'>was</span> <span m='56300'>able</span> <span m='56580'>to</span> <span m='56940'>start</span> <span m='57420'>studying</span> <span m='58340'>soil</span> <span m='58750'>science</span> <span m='59310'>in</span> <span m='59470'>a</span> <span m='59530'>very</span> <span m='60650'>professional</span> <span m='61310'>way.</span> </p><p><span m='61770'>As</span> <span m='62000'>a</span> <span m='62050'>graduate</span> <span m='62580'>student,</span> <span m='63040'>you</span> <span m='63320'>go</span> <span m='63520'>through</span> <span m='63950'>some--</span> <span m='65080'>especially</span> <span m='65650'>as</span> <span m='65800'>a</span> <span m='65850'>PhD</span> <span m='66340'>Student,</span> <span m='67180'>it</span> <span m='67410'>takes</span> <span m='67730'>about</span> <span m='68030'>five</span> <span m='68320'>years</span> <span m='68560'>to</span> <span m='68650'>get</span> <span m='68840'>through</span> <span m='68960'>the</span> <span m='69060'>process.</span> <span m='70590'>Sometimes</span> <span m='71520'>six,</span> <span m='71870'>and you</span> <span m='72240'>tend</span> <span m='72480'>to</span> <span m='72550'>go</span> <span m='72770'>through</span> <span m='72980'>stages</span> <span m='73610'>in</span> <span m='73730'>your</span> <span m='73890'>life.</span> <span m='74590'>There's</span> <span m='74750'>a</span> <span m='74800'>stage</span> <span m='75150'>where</span> <span m='75330'>you're</span> <span m='75460'>taking</span> <span m='75820'>a</span> <span m='75880'>lot</span> <span m='76080'>of</span> <span m='76190'>classes</span> <span m='76830'>that</span> <span m='77010'>are</span> <span m='77540'>preparing</span> <span m='77920'>you</span> <span m='78230'>to do</span> <span m='78360'>your</span> <span m='78570'>project.</span> <span m='79610'>At</span> <span m='79750'>the</span> <span m='79810'>same</span> <span m='80070'>time</span> <span m='80400'>you're</span> <span m='80550'>taking</span> <span m='80920'>classes,</span> <span m='81530'>you're</span> <span m='81860'>starting</span> <span m='82340'>to</span> <span m='82470'>do</span> <span m='83520'>experiments</span> <span m='85120'>in</span> <span m='85560'>agriculture.</span> </p><p><span m='86170'>That</span> <span m='86410'>very</span> <span m='86680'>often</span> <span m='87070'>means</span> <span m='87680'>going</span> <span m='88040'>out</span> <span m='88260'>into</span> <span m='88500'>the</span> <span m='88610'>field</span> <span m='89020'>regularly,</span> <span m='89660'>and</span> <span m='89820'>measuring</span> <span m='90300'>things,</span> <span m='91260'>and</span> <span m='92040'>getting</span> <span m='92500'>to know</span> <span m='92875'>the</span> <span m='93250'>farmers</span> <span m='93370'>that you're</span> <span m='93520'>working</span> <span m='93980'>with,</span> <span m='95230'>and</span> <span m='95660'>getting</span> <span m='95880'>a</span> <span m='95930'>bit</span> <span m='96070'>of</span> <span m='96160'>fresh</span> <span m='96510'>air.</span> <span m='97260'>And</span> <span m='97770'>after</span> <span m='98060'>a</span> <span m='98100'>while,</span> <span m='98350'>you</span> <span m='99320'>stop</span> <span m='99750'>taking</span> <span m='100070'>classes,</span> <span m='100600'>and</span> <span m='100700'>you</span> <span m='100800'>focus</span> <span m='101270'>on</span> <span m='101890'>your</span> <span m='102340'>field</span> <span m='102790'>work, and</span> <span m='102920'>you</span> <span m='103020'>focus</span> <span m='103460'>on</span> <span m='103600'>some</span> <span m='103960'>laboratory</span> <span m='104550'>work.</span> <span m='105100'>And</span> <span m='105280'>then</span> <span m='105410'>you</span> <span m='105520'>start</span> <span m='105880'>writing</span> <span m='106130'>your</span> <span m='106480'>results.</span> <span m='106745'>And</span> <span m='107010'>in</span> <span m='107270'>the</span> <span m='107380'>US,</span> <span m='107820'>you're</span> <span m='108020'>expected</span> <span m='109422'>publish,</span> <span m='109908'>very</span> <span m='110394'>often,</span> <span m='110880'>you're</span> <span m='111230'>expected to</span> <span m='111440'>publish</span> <span m='112970'>the</span> <span m='113090'>research</span> <span m='113530'>that</span> <span m='113680'>you've</span> <span m='113860'>done.</span> </p><p><span m='114110'>So</span> <span m='114260'>you</span> <span m='114380'>have</span> <span m='114630'>to</span> <span m='114760'>actually</span> <span m='115320'>write</span> <span m='115910'>as</span> <span m='116120'>a</span> <span m='116170'>professional,</span> <span m='117140'>and</span> <span m='119070'>send</span> <span m='119360'>your</span> <span m='120090'>pieces</span> <span m='120510'>off</span> <span m='120865'>to</span> <span m='121220'>journals,</span> <span m='121420'>and</span> <span m='121805'>interact</span> <span m='122190'>with</span> <span m='122575'>the</span> <span m='122960'>editors,</span> <span m='123740'>and</span> <span m='124380'>make</span> <span m='124610'>stuff</span> <span m='124810'>ready</span> <span m='125080'>for</span> <span m='125350'>publication.</span> <span m='126500'>Then</span> <span m='126680'>they</span> <span m='126790'>start</span> <span m='127120'>sending</span> <span m='127430'>you to</span> <span m='127660'>conferences,</span> <span m='128570'>and</span> <span m='128780'>you're</span> <span m='129600'>expected</span> <span m='129925'>to talk</span> <span m='130250'>to</span> <span m='130539'>professionals</span> <span m='131490'>and</span> <span m='132770'>field</span> <span m='133230'>any</span> <span m='133380'>manner</span> <span m='133730'>of</span> <span m='133940'>questions</span> <span m='134235'>from them.</span> <span m='135522'>So,</span> <span m='136020'>one</span> <span m='136100'>thing</span> <span m='136320'>I</span> <span m='136390'>really</span> <span m='136690'>appreciate</span> <span m='137480'>more</span> <span m='137850'>than</span> <span m='138060'>I</span> <span m='138140'>knew</span> <span m='138510'>I</span> <span m='138630'>would</span> <span m='139210'>coming</span> <span m='139560'>into</span> <span m='139750'>this</span> <span m='140470'>is</span> <span m='140700'>that</span> <span m='140810'>I've</span> <span m='140910'>been</span> <span m='141050'>able</span> <span m='141240'>to</span> <span m='141310'>do</span> <span m='141460'>lots</span> <span m='141760'>of</span> <span m='141880'>different</span> <span m='142240'>things</span> <span m='142500'>while</span> <span m='142830'>I'm</span> <span m='142930'>a</span> <span m='142980'>graduate</span> <span m='143440'>student.</span> </p><p><span m='143800'>Hasn't</span> <span m='144210'>been</span> <span m='144400'>just</span> <span m='144680'>classes.</span> <span m='145290'>It</span> <span m='145680'>hasn't</span> <span m='146050'>been</span> <span m='146240'>just</span> <span m='146590'>field</span> <span m='146870'>work.</span> <span m='147600'>It</span> <span m='147770'>hasn't</span> <span m='148160'>been</span> <span m='148340'>just</span> <span m='148620'>conferences.</span> <span m='149710'>It</span> <span m='149800'>hasn't</span> <span m='150190'>been</span> <span m='150370'>just</span> <span m='150610'>paper</span> <span m='150960'>writing.</span> <span m='151720'>It</span> <span m='151850'>hasn't</span> <span m='152260'>been</span> <span m='152510'>just</span> <span m='154310'>sitting</span> <span m='154640'>at</span> <span m='154760'>the</span> <span m='154830'>computer</span> <span m='155290'>processing</span> <span m='155940'>data,</span> <span m='157450'>but</span> <span m='157620'>it's</span> <span m='157790'>been</span> <span m='157950'>all of</span> <span m='158290'>those</span> <span m='158640'>things.</span> <span m='159140'>And</span> <span m='160040'>some</span> <span m='160210'>good</span> <span m='160430'>parties on the</span> <span m='160930'>weekends,</span> <span m='161190'>too.</span> <span m='162580'>There</span> <span m='162780'>are</span> <span m='163290'>lots</span> <span m='163570'>of</span> <span m='163660'>different</span> <span m='164220'>directions</span> <span m='164910'>that</span> <span m='165010'>you</span> <span m='165340'>can</span> <span m='165560'>go</span> <span m='165950'>with</span> <span m='166180'>a</span> <span m='166330'>PhD</span> <span m='167985'>in</span> <span m='168290'>the</span> <span m='168410'>agricultural</span> <span m='169090'>sciences.</span> </p><p><span m='170460'>In</span> <span m='170670'>my</span> <span m='170810'>case,</span> <span m='171410'>in</span> <span m='171600'>soil</span> <span m='171940'>science,</span> <span m='172835'>I'm</span> <span m='173220'>looking</span> <span m='173700'>at</span> <span m='174010'>some</span> <span m='174300'>jobs</span> <span m='174750'>they</span> <span m='174820'>would</span> <span m='174980'>have</span> <span m='175240'>me</span> <span m='175370'>involved</span> <span m='175860'>in</span> <span m='176070'>designing</span> <span m='177620'>development</span> <span m='178220'>projects,</span> <span m='180160'>probably</span> <span m='181520'>in</span> <span m='182300'>Latin</span> <span m='182660'>America.</span> <span m='184290'>And</span> <span m='184480'>that</span> <span m='184730'>means</span> <span m='185150'>working</span> <span m='185500'>with</span> <span m='185650'>other</span> <span m='185950'>scientists</span> <span m='186310'>to</span> <span m='186670'>design</span> <span m='188470'>sustainable</span> <span m='189580'>and</span> <span m='189790'>profitable</span> <span m='190680'>ways</span> <span m='191030'>of</span> <span m='191290'>ways</span> <span m='191570'>of</span> <span m='191660'>growing</span> <span m='192010'>things,</span> <span m='192330'>to</span> <span m='192430'>help</span> <span m='192690'>people,</span> <span m='193250'>and</span> <span m='193410'>help</span> <span m='193650'>the</span> <span m='193740'>environment</span> <span m='194240'>at</span> <span m='194320'>the</span> <span m='194410'>same</span> <span m='194810'>time.</span> <span m='195730'>There's</span> <span m='196500'>also</span> <span m='196790'>a</span> <span m='196870'>lot</span> <span m='197100'>of</span> <span m='197230'>research</span> <span m='197690'>that</span> <span m='197830'>happens</span> <span m='198510'>at</span> <span m='199170'>graduate</span> <span m='199690'>schools,</span> <span m='200350'>and at</span> <span m='200780'>universities.</span> </p><p><span m='201800'>But</span> <span m='201940'>also,</span> <span m='202360'>a</span> <span m='202420'>lot</span> <span m='202620'>of</span> <span m='202720'>research</span> <span m='203190'>that</span> <span m='203330'>happens</span> <span m='203970'>with</span> <span m='204470'>seed</span> <span m='204990'>companies,</span> <span m='205730'>and</span> <span m='205890'>pesticide</span> <span m='206660'>companies,</span> <span m='207350'>and</span> <span m='207490'>all</span> <span m='207650'>the</span> <span m='207740'>rest</span> <span m='208070'>of</span> <span m='208770'>the</span> <span m='208910'>people</span> <span m='209310'>who</span> <span m='209510'>actually</span> <span m='210110'>are</span> <span m='210860'>keeping</span> <span m='211210'>us</span> <span m='211450'>fed.</span> <span m='212730'>If</span> <span m='213190'>you're</span> <span m='213340'>going</span> <span m='213580'>to</span> <span m='213630'>ask</span> <span m='213960'>me</span> <span m='214160'>about</span> <span m='214510'>how</span> <span m='215330'>someone</span> <span m='215800'>could</span> <span m='215990'>be</span> <span m='216170'>better</span> <span m='216450'>prepared</span> <span m='217310'>for</span> <span m='218670'>coming</span> <span m='218990'>into</span> <span m='220280'>a</span> <span m='220400'>PhD</span> <span m='221300'>In</span> <span m='221580'>soil</span> <span m='221930'>science,</span> <span m='222470'>or</span> <span m='222720'>in</span> <span m='223190'>agricultural</span> <span m='223890'>sciences,</span> <span m='225010'>I</span> <span m='225190'>have</span> <span m='226650'>to</span> <span m='226750'>say</span> <span m='227515'>that</span> <span m='227850'>the</span> <span m='227980'>two</span> <span m='228160'>things</span> <span m='228580'>that</span> <span m='228780'>are</span> <span m='228970'>least</span> <span m='229510'>fun,</span> <span m='230160'>but</span> <span m='231100'>the</span> <span m='231180'>things</span> <span m='231490'>that you</span> <span m='231720'>find</span> <span m='232130'>that you</span> <span m='232270'>need</span> <span m='232640'>as</span> <span m='232820'>soon</span> <span m='233280'>as</span> <span m='233370'>you</span> <span m='233600'>arrive</span> <span m='234670'>are</span> <span m='234830'>chemistry</span> <span m='235600'>and</span> <span m='235790'>statistics.</span> </p><p><span m='237150'>And</span> <span m='237430'>so</span> <span m='237620'>very</span> <span m='237860'>often,</span> <span m='238840'>if</span> <span m='239080'>people</span> <span m='239410'>do</span> <span m='239660'>change</span> <span m='240050'>their</span> <span m='240180'>direction,</span> <span m='240840'>and</span> <span m='241010'>they</span> <span m='241120'>do</span> <span m='241350'>come</span> <span m='241600'>into</span> <span m='241800'>graduate</span> <span m='242240'>school</span> <span m='242780'>in</span> <span m='242910'>the</span> <span m='242990'>sciences,</span> <span m='243820'>those</span> <span m='244040'>are</span> <span m='244080'>the</span> <span m='244190'>first</span> <span m='244480'>things</span> <span m='244690'>that</span> <span m='244810'>they</span> <span m='244910'>have</span> <span m='245080'>to</span> <span m='245180'>focus</span> <span m='245600'>on</span> <span m='245780'>because,</span> <span m='246370'>without</span> <span m='246830'>those</span> <span m='247090'>two</span> <span m='247250'>things,</span> <span m='247590'>you're</span> <span m='247680'>not</span> <span m='247940'>going</span> <span m='248510'>understand</span> <span m='249040'>very</span> <span m='249240'>well</span> <span m='249450'>what's</span> <span m='249720'>going</span> <span m='250030'>on.</span> </p><p><span m='250870'>Microbiology</span> <span m='251750'>is</span> <span m='251930'>also</span> <span m='252200'>something</span> <span m='252580'>that</span> <span m='252720'>I</span> <span m='252770'>think</span> <span m='252990'>they're</span> <span m='253110'>starting</span> <span m='253520'>to</span> <span m='253590'>pay</span> <span m='253800'>more</span> <span m='254000'>attention</span> <span m='254450'>to</span> <span m='254770'>in</span> <span m='256500'>high</span> <span m='256649'>schools,</span> <span m='257250'>and</span> <span m='258040'>if</span> <span m='258630'>you</span> <span m='258760'>get</span> <span m='258930'>a</span> <span m='259000'>chance</span> <span m='259350'>to</span> <span m='259470'>take</span> <span m='260209'>microbiology</span> <span m='261029'>in</span> <span m='261110'>high</span> <span m='261240'>school,</span> <span m='261560'>I</span> <span m='261630'>think</span> <span m='262029'>that that's</span> <span m='262290'>useful</span> <span m='262790'>for</span> <span m='263230'>a</span> <span m='263380'>lot</span> <span m='263910'>of</span> <span m='264040'>today's</span> <span m='264480'>careers.</span> </p>","file":{"id":276887,"video_id":"2708146927001","name":"60285977","duration":266347,"thumbnail_url":null}});