Miller Research LLC: President and Study Director
BS Botany—Biotechnology: BYU
MS & Ph.D. Plant Pathology: Washington State University
Where do you work? How long have you worked there? What do you do?
Research Scientist: Dream up, design, develop, and test scientific instrumentation for soil, plant and food science.
How is your profession related to Environmental Science?
I design instrumentation to support ES in the field and laboratory to quantify phenomena water use, drought stress, infiltration into soils, heat flow, leaf area, plant stress, etc.
How has your BYU education benefited your career and would you recommend any specific course background for your field?
Education is essential in my career. From the fundamentals of science to the concepts of engineering, the time spent is the classroom has allowed me to meet the needs of a rapidly developing scientific marketplace. One of the most important things I did during my education was to take a mixture of science and engineering classes to help me prepare. It was not the conventional wisdom at the time, and I had to fight the system a little bit to get the classes in engineering when I was a soil scientist. I still remember (with some humor), the engineering professors reading my major designation (SOSC) and asking why a social scientist was taking fluid dynamics. I have used the principles I learned in these classes regularly in my science.
What changes do you see or expect in your profession in the near future?
I think that students will have to become more well rounded in their education. I don't think it will be as easy in the future to say that you are a environmental scientist so can ignore other areas of science or engineering that may apply. It seems to me that the most successful scientists have a good handle on many fields.
There is a common misconception of lumping environmental science with environmental activism. How can our department best address this perception problem with our students and employers?
I think the best way to communicate the feeling of students and a department is to showcase the research and interests of the students and faculty of the department. Offer opportunities to experience the people in the department during an open house or give concise overviews of the core curriculum in the environmental science major.
How can students best network within your profession in order to gain employment or internships? Does your company have internships that may be of interest to our students?
I think that going to the national meetings (Ecological Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, or American Geophysical Union) would be a great place to start.
Does your company have internships that may be of interest to our students? Who should they contact?
We do not have regular internships, but we are always open for well qualified students to intern here. The person they should contact is Douglas Cobos (firstname.lastname@example.org).