GENERAL CAREERS OVERVIEW
Alejandro A. Royo
The Forest Service recruited me as part of their Scientist Recruitment Initiative while I was still in graduate school. I had two options. I could let the Forest Service finance the rest of my doctoral research and transition to a well-paid, fun job with great colleagues and benefits. Or I could scrape together funding to complete my research and enter a highly competitive job market much later. The choice was obvious.
On any given day, I may learn to identify a new plant, read a groundbreaking new research paper, or identify a new pattern indicating forest conditions. Whether I'm inside or outside, my research proposes answers to important forest management and sustainability questions. Science is a learning process that evolves constantly. There will always be a need to assimilate new ideas and learn new techniques, and I learn something new every day.
If you're interested in research, seek out work opportunities, either with the Forest Service or somewhere else. Nothing beats hands-on field experience, and the contacts you make can only help you in the future.
Some would say that our work is physically demanding, often repetitive, and sometimes stressful. Those things may be true, but when I stop to look around at the beauty of the places where I work and how fortunate I am to experience them, it makes it all worthwhile.