• Question: What was your first science-related job/position like?

    Asked by Brooke to Alex, Ana, Clay, Keegan, Mark on 3 May 2016.
    • Photo: Alexander Taylor

      Alexander Taylor answered on 3 May 2016:

      My first science job was as a lab technician, which meant running large numbers of simple experiments, measuring and recording the data in a database, and keeping track of samples and orders. It was a fairly boring job, as a lot of entry-level jobs are, but taught me about carefully measuring and recording data.

      A lot of people fall in love with science by starting as a field (rather than lab) technician. The job is basically the same: taking measurements and recording the data. But you can do it in beautiful wild areas, for example measuring the number and size of a particular tree species in a forest.

    • Photo: Clay Robinson

      Clay Robinson answered on 3 May 2016:

      I worked as an assistant to a plant breeder. We were working on triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye.
      I was responsible for overseeing and making crosses between different types of triticale plants, then growing the seed.
      We took notes on the performance of the crosses, then selected some for further research.
      Our greatest interest in triticale was as a forage crop for animals, particularly cattle, but we also looked for kinds of plants with good grain quality.
      I did a lot of baking with triticale flour.

    • Photo: Mark Ritchie

      Mark Ritchie answered on 3 May 2016:

      My first science job was as a research assistant analyzing how the thickness of tree rings changed as you go from the center to the outer edge of the tree trunk. I was trying to see if the growth of trees that grew in floodplains responded to rainfall or if rainfall didn’t matter because the trees usually had access to underground water. I was just a college sophomore at the time.