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RESEARCH ASSISTANT, EARTH SCIENCE: Studying Climate Change

About this video 

Clayton is a Ph.D student in Earth System Science, focusing his research on how methane emissions from melting permafrost in the Arctic is affecting climate change. A typical day for him can be in the lab analyzing samples, planning his next trip to the Arctic or as a Teacher's assistant helping students. He loves doing field work, spending time outside and doing cool science experiments.

Job Title: Research Assistant

Job Summary: Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers

Job Description

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future.

On-the-Job Training

None

Additional Info

Geoscientists need a license to practice in some states. Requirements vary by state but typically include minimum education and experience requirements and a passing score on an exam.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$45,000 - $160,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
20 to 30 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time, Irregular
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Military, Indoor, Office, Outdoor, Remote, Travel
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Problem solving skills, Public speaking ability, Strength/stamina, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, Analytical skills, Detail oriented, Mathematical skills

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='160'>I</span> <span m='250'>am a</span> <span m='1100'>graduate</span> <span m='1600'>student</span> <span m='1960'>researcher.</span> <span m='3710'>I</span> <span m='4460'>conduct</span> <span m='6290'>collaborative</span> <span m='6940'>research</span> <span m='7740'>on</span> <span m='8810'>carbon</span> <span m='9210'>cycling</span> <span m='10070'>in</span> <span m='10560'>high</span> <span m='10900'>latitudes.</span> <span m='11600'>In</span> <span m='11700'>particularly,</span> <span m='12460'>in</span> <span m='12640'>the</span> <span m='12760'>arctic.</span> </p><p><span m='14350'>I</span> <span m='14520'>study</span> <span m='15120'>the</span> <span m='15280'>age</span> <span m='15750'>of</span> <span m='16350'>methane</span> <span m='16890'>emissions,</span> <span m='17960'>which</span> <span m='18170'>is</span> <span m='18370'>a</span> <span m='18990'>biogenic</span> <span m='19630'>gas.</span> <span m='20250'>And</span> <span m='20420'>we</span> <span m='20540'>can</span> <span m='20700'>look</span> <span m='20890'>at</span> <span m='20980'>the</span> <span m='21070'>isotope</span> <span m='21670'>signatures</span> <span m='23320'>of</span> <span m='23490'>this</span> <span m='23760'>gas</span> <span m='24300'>and</span> <span m='24540'>determine</span> <span m='26210'>kind</span> <span m='26520'>of</span> <span m='26620'>how</span> <span m='27400'>the</span> <span m='27590'>permafrost</span> <span m='28550'>is</span> <span m='28720'>thawing</span> <span m='29310'>and</span> <span m='29440'>then</span> <span m='29630'>introducing</span> <span m='30440'>new</span> <span m='30630'>greenhouse</span> <span m='31280'>gases</span> <span m='31850'>into</span> <span m='32070'>the</span> <span m='32229'>atmosphere.</span> </p><p><span m='33410'>So</span> <span m='33870'>my</span> <span m='34030'>work</span> <span m='34350'>kind</span> <span m='34550'>of</span> <span m='35950'>is</span> <span m='36100'>along</span> <span m='36410'>the</span> <span m='36510'>lines</span> <span m='36830'>of</span> <span m='37240'>a</span> <span m='37380'>climate</span> <span m='37800'>change</span> <span m='38110'>study.</span> <span m='38960'>So its</span> <span m='39190'>impact</span> <span m='39680'>for</span> <span m='39800'>climate</span> <span m='40210'>change.</span> <span m='41080'>And</span> <span m='41200'>also,</span> <span m='41530'>it's</span> <span m='41660'>really</span> <span m='41920'>fun</span> <span m='42280'>to</span> <span m='42730'>mess</span> <span m='43050'>around</span> <span m='43340'>with</span> <span m='43660'>equipment</span> <span m='44150'>in</span> <span m='44220'>the</span> <span m='44330'>lab</span> <span m='44750'>and</span> <span m='45920'>go</span> <span m='46140'>out</span> <span m='46350'>to</span> <span m='46900'>cool</span> <span m='47230'>adventurous</span> <span m='47830'>places</span> <span m='48470'>out</span> <span m='48690'>in</span> <span m='48770'>the</span> <span m='48850'>world.</span> <span m='49960'>And</span> <span m='50210'>try</span> <span m='50550'>out</span> <span m='50680'>the</span> <span m='50780'>things</span> <span m='51120'>that</span> <span m='51250'>we</span> <span m='51360'>build</span> <span m='51700'>in</span> <span m='51760'>the</span> <span m='51850'>laboratory</span> <span m='52580'>to</span> <span m='52930'>collect</span> <span m='53340'>the</span> <span m='53540'>samples.</span> </p><p><span m='54590'>So</span> <span m='54980'>typically,</span> <span m='55520'>I</span> <span m='55590'>come</span> <span m='55890'>in</span> <span m='56380'>and</span> <span m='57750'>either</span> <span m='57940'>I</span> <span m='58020'>have</span> <span m='58380'>a</span> <span m='58460'>whole</span> <span m='59120'>group</span> <span m='59420'>of</span> <span m='59550'>samples</span> <span m='60240'>that</span> <span m='60430'>I</span> <span m='60520'>need</span> <span m='60810'>to</span> <span m='61590'>organize</span> <span m='62470'>and</span> <span m='62590'>extract</span> <span m='63240'>in</span> <span m='63320'>the</span> <span m='63430'>laboratory.</span> <span m='64680'>Or</span> <span m='64959'>I</span> <span m='65010'>may</span> <span m='65170'>come</span> <span m='65440'>in</span> <span m='65640'>and</span> <span m='65730'>be</span> <span m='65850'>planning</span> <span m='66400'>my</span> <span m='66530'>next</span> <span m='67620'>sampling</span> <span m='68270'>adventure</span> <span m='68940'>out</span> <span m='69150'>in</span> <span m='69270'>the</span> <span m='69410'>arctic.</span> </p><p><span m='70710'>I</span> <span m='70910'>also</span> <span m='72580'>am</span> <span m='72740'>a</span> <span m='72830'>teacher's</span> <span m='73250'>assistant.</span> <span m='73840'>So</span> <span m='74360'>I</span> <span m='75130'>help</span> <span m='75450'>other</span> <span m='75730'>students</span> <span m='76220'>with</span> <span m='76360'>their</span> <span m='76530'>coursework</span> <span m='77260'>and</span> <span m='77390'>instruct</span> <span m='77890'>them</span> <span m='78130'>through</span> <span m='78330'>classes,</span> <span m='78880'>which</span> <span m='79110'>I</span> <span m='79240'>find</span> <span m='79590'>really</span> <span m='80740'>fulfilling.</span> <span m='82070'>It's</span> <span m='82260'>fun</span> <span m='82560'>to</span> <span m='82960'>kind</span> <span m='83100'>of</span> <span m='83190'>pass</span> <span m='83510'>your</span> <span m='83650'>knowledge</span> <span m='84110'>on</span> <span m='84450'>to</span> <span m='85500'>the</span> <span m='85640'>next</span> <span m='85930'>generation</span> <span m='86550'>of</span> <span m='86660'>students.</span> </p><p><span m='88770'>So</span> <span m='89970'>I</span> <span m='90120'>like</span> <span m='90360'>my</span> <span m='90500'>job</span> <span m='90820'>because</span> <span m='91150'>I'm</span> <span m='91330'>always</span> <span m='91640'>doing</span> <span m='91860'>something</span> <span m='92250'>different.</span> <span m='92670'>I</span> <span m='92740'>never</span> <span m='93080'>have</span> <span m='93490'>the</span> <span m='93680'>same</span> <span m='94480'>thing</span> <span m='94860'>happening</span> <span m='95710'>from</span> <span m='95880'>day</span> <span m='96130'>to</span> <span m='96290'>day.</span> <span m='98630'>It</span> <span m='98830'>ranges,</span> <span m='99510'>I</span> <span m='99580'>guess.</span> </p><p><span m='100100'>I</span> <span m='100250'>was</span> <span m='100470'>always</span> <span m='100820'>interested</span> <span m='101500'>in</span> <span m='101730'>nature</span> <span m='102400'>and</span> <span m='102860'>I</span> <span m='102900'>was</span> <span m='103260'>always</span> <span m='103600'>curious</span> <span m='105360'>and</span> <span m='105630'>kind</span> <span m='105850'>of</span> <span m='105910'>motivated</span> <span m='106740'>by</span> <span m='107390'>natural</span> <span m='107880'>sciences.</span> <span m='110060'>So</span> <span m='110420'>when</span> <span m='110630'>I</span> <span m='110730'>was</span> <span m='110930'>an</span> <span m='111310'>undergraduate</span> <span m='112300'>in</span> <span m='112470'>college,</span> <span m='113240'>I</span> <span m='113590'>met</span> <span m='113880'>with</span> <span m='114080'>some</span> <span m='114540'>really</span> <span m='114830'>influential</span> <span m='115950'>professors</span> <span m='116830'>that</span> <span m='117680'>gave</span> <span m='117870'>me</span> <span m='117950'>the</span> <span m='118100'>opportunity</span> <span m='118690'>to</span> <span m='119280'>start</span> <span m='119600'>conducting</span> <span m='120050'>research</span> <span m='120580'>as</span> <span m='120750'>a</span> <span m='120790'>young</span> <span m='121100'>student</span> <span m='121530'>in</span> <span m='121620'>college.</span> <span m='122570'>And</span> <span m='122950'>I</span> <span m='123030'>really</span> <span m='123350'>enjoyed</span> <span m='123680'>doing</span> <span m='123970'>field</span> <span m='124290'>work.</span> <span m='124870'>I</span> <span m='125010'>love</span> <span m='125330'>spending</span> <span m='125700'>time</span> <span m='126030'>outside</span> <span m='126760'>and</span> <span m='128360'>doing</span> <span m='129340'>cool</span> <span m='130460'>science</span> <span m='130910'>experiments</span> <span m='131690'>in</span> <span m='131800'>the</span> <span m='131910'>natural</span> <span m='132320'>world.</span> </p><p><span m='132760'>And</span> <span m='132920'>so</span> <span m='133240'>I</span> <span m='133640'>kept</span> <span m='134010'>doing</span> <span m='134350'>research</span> <span m='134980'>as</span> <span m='135120'>an</span> <span m='135510'>undergraduate.</span> <span m='136740'>And</span> <span m='137290'>eventually,</span> <span m='137830'>I</span> <span m='137870'>was</span> <span m='138070'>able</span> <span m='138320'>to</span> <span m='139580'>graduate</span> <span m='140360'>and</span> <span m='140680'>take</span> <span m='140910'>my</span> <span m='141080'>research</span> <span m='141620'>to</span> <span m='141710'>the</span> <span m='141830'>next</span> <span m='142140'>level</span> <span m='142490'>as</span> <span m='142690'>a</span> <span m='142860'>doctoral</span> <span m='143390'>student.</span> </p><p><span m='144380'>There</span> <span m='144790'>are</span> <span m='145430'>so</span> <span m='145950'>many</span> <span m='146230'>steps</span> <span m='146740'>to</span> <span m='146980'>it.</span> <span m='147260'>It's</span> <span m='147500'>very</span> <span m='147850'>complicated.</span> <span m='148700'>And</span> <span m='148840'>you</span> <span m='148960'>can</span> <span m='149110'>even</span> <span m='149330'>take</span> <span m='149590'>a</span> <span m='149660'>little</span> <span m='149950'>piece</span> <span m='151500'>of</span> <span m='151970'>the</span> <span m='152120'>bigger</span> <span m='152470'>picture</span> <span m='153140'>and</span> <span m='153340'>turn</span> <span m='153620'>that</span> <span m='153870'>into</span> <span m='154100'>such</span> <span m='154380'>a</span> <span m='154440'>big</span> <span m='155370'>impactful</span> <span m='155980'>project.</span> <span m='156520'>Even</span> <span m='156770'>just</span> <span m='157000'>a</span> <span m='157060'>small</span> <span m='157450'>slice</span> <span m='157960'>of</span> <span m='158100'>something</span> <span m='158870'>that</span> <span m='159100'>you</span> <span m='159190'>think</span> <span m='159470'>might</span> <span m='159710'>not</span> <span m='159930'>be</span> <span m='161810'>that</span> <span m='162020'>impactful,</span> <span m='163170'>if</span> <span m='163320'>you</span> <span m='163960'>look</span> <span m='164190'>at</span> <span m='164330'>it</span> <span m='164430'>in</span> <span m='164540'>a</span> <span m='164630'>different</span> <span m='164970'>way,</span> <span m='165280'>it</span> <span m='165400'>can</span> <span m='165550'>really</span> <span m='166910'>build</span> <span m='167330'>up</span> <span m='167590'>or</span> <span m='167770'>escalate</span> <span m='168320'>into</span> <span m='168620'>something</span> <span m='169010'>that</span> <span m='169150'>could</span> <span m='169270'>become</span> <span m='169600'>really</span> <span m='169860'>important</span> <span m='170360'>for</span> <span m='170560'>your</span> <span m='170650'>work.</span> </p><p><span m='171050'>So</span> <span m='172120'>I</span> <span m='172890'>guess</span> <span m='173130'>I</span> <span m='173160'>didn't</span> <span m='173390'>realize</span> <span m='173820'>that</span> <span m='174050'>in</span> <span m='174150'>the</span> <span m='174230'>beginning.</span> <span m='175100'>The</span> <span m='175370'>advice</span> <span m='175810'>I</span> <span m='175850'>would</span> <span m='176080'>give</span> <span m='176440'>is,</span> <span m='176950'>talk</span> <span m='177220'>to</span> <span m='177320'>your</span> <span m='177460'>teachers.</span> <span m='178280'>And</span> <span m='178700'>get</span> <span m='178880'>advice</span> <span m='179480'>from</span> <span m='179930'>your</span> <span m='180080'>teachers</span> <span m='180550'>and</span> <span m='180670'>professors.</span> <span m='181990'>And</span> <span m='182470'>just</span> <span m='182700'>be</span> <span m='182840'>curious</span> <span m='183380'>and</span> <span m='183490'>ask</span> <span m='183810'>questions.</span> <span m='185790'>Don't</span> <span m='186040'>ever</span> <span m='186290'>stop</span> <span m='186630'>asking</span> <span m='187020'>questions.</span> </p>","file":{"id":331548,"video_id":"2994361777001","name":"1709-Clayton-p-EarthSystemsScience","duration":188779,"thumbnail_url":null}});