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Paulette Ford
Research Ecologist

I got to work early today. I brought a cup of coffee and went to my site to watch the sun come up. This is my field season, so I'll spend most of the day outside, working on my study of the effects of season and fire on shortgrass steppes. At other times of the year, I present research at conferences, serve on committees, and enter data, but today, my focus is this semi-desert ecosystem.

After first being hired as a temporary employee, I was recruited for the Forest Service's Student Career Experience Program (SCEP). The Forest Service offered me the opportunity to earn my Ph.D. in Renewable Natural Resource Studies. I was hired as a permanent scientist when I graduated.

Don't be afraid to talk to people. If you're thinking about applying for a job with the Forest Service, check out the different lab sites and see what we're doing. It also never hurts to have a mentor in your field.

My research is really exciting to me, and I look forward to it every day. Holding small mammals, smelling the grass, watching a prescribed fire - these are the things that make the field season so much fun. But I love to write up my research. It's exciting when a new publication comes out and you get your pack of reprints in the mail. My schedule is flexible. It all just depends on the day.

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USDA Forest Service
Albuquerque Service Center
Human Resources Management
4000 Masthead Street NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
(877) 372-7248 (Option 2)