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Colin Campbell

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 (doug@decagon.com).

Environmental Science & Sustainability in the News
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Air pollution costs Utahns billions annually and shortens life expectancy by two years

November 18, 2020 09:13 AM
New study led by ESS undergraduate Isabella Errigo reveals the cost of air pollution for Utahns’ health and pocketbooks
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BYU researchers help test wastewater for COVID-19 infection rates in Utah

May 18, 2020 09:58 PM
ESS professor Zach Aanderud and his team of students use cutting-edge molecular methods to track COVID-19 in municipal wastewater.
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How You Can Have a Positive Impact on the Climate Change Emergency

November 23, 2020 07:20 AM
COVID-19 isn’t the only worldwide emergency affecting billions of people—climate change continues to threaten us with devastating implications. Here are some ways to help.
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Studying climate change at opposite ends of the Earth

ESS undergraduate Natasha Griffin has presented at conferences in Europe, ridden in a helicopter and visited both the North and South Poles to figure out how humans are affecting the Earth.
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The price of air pollution

We all know intuitively that polluted air isn't good for our bodies or communities, but just how much is air pollution costing us? ESS undergraduates and faculty led a statewide study to answer just that.
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Influencing Environmental Change from Iran to Utah

April 08, 2020 10:36 AM
ESS PhD student Sara Sayedi wanted to use science to improve policy in her home country of Iran, but politics limited her work in the public arena. Now at BYU, she is influencing policy at a global scale.
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After a mega fire: how waterways are impacted by wildfires

BYU team investigates ecosystem resilience to wildfire, linking plants, streams, climate, and society
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Tree Heart Attacks: Aspen Clones Dying

Professor Sam St. Clair from the Environmental Science & Sustainability program takes the vitals of one of North America's keystone tree species.
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How environmental justice affects all of us

June 24, 2021 12:30 PM
Environmental degradation harms every individual by causing pervasive decline of life on Earth, but it doesn’t impact everyone to the same degree. ESS professor Ben Abbott shares three ways to improve your understanding on how environmental justice affects you and your community.
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Saving the world's water (and humans) one little stream at a time

January 16, 2018 10:00 PM
ESS professor Ben Abbott presents a new tool to fight nutrient pollution. Streams can be “sensors” of ecosystem health, allowing both improved water quality and food production.

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Fighting bad air quality with ... dance?

September 11, 2018 10:00 PM
Dance professor Keely Song and ESS professor Ben Abbott teamed up to promote BYU's free UTA passes to students, employees, and their families.
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Dr. Gary Booth: A Lifelong Legacy

July 03, 2020 03:29 PM
While at BYU, Dr. Gary Booth taught a wide range of subjects. Students and faculty alike appreciated Booth and his impact on the college.
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BYU analysis of 115+ studies: Masks powerful & cost-effective in combating COVID-19

July 23, 2020 09:56 AM
After reading 115 studies on COVID-19, ESS faculty and students published non-technical report on the effectiveness of masks at slowing the spread.
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Why are aspen dying?

June 27, 2013 10:00 PM
If Utah’s quaking aspen appear to be quaking more than usual this summer, the trees have reason to tremble, says a Brigham Young University biologist. In dappled forests across the West, aspen trees are battling deadly killers from heat stroke to bud-nipping predators to tree “heart attacks.”
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Permafrost Collapse and the Global Ecosystem

March 17, 2020 11:10 AM
ESS professor Ben Abbott co-authored a study in Nature on the permafrost climate feedback. Working with an international team, he found that abrupt permafrost collapse could double carbon release.
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Water cycle diagrams are giving us a false sense of water security

June 10, 2019 10:00 PM
A new study in Nature Geoscience led by ESS professor and students found that the global water cycle is incorrect even in modern papers and textbooks. 85% of diagrams show no people, despite human domination of water at a global scale.
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Plant & Wildlife Sciences Across the Map

June 29, 2020 02:18 PM
Professors and students from Environmental Science & Sustainability lead research projects from Antarctica to Alaska.
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Study finds bedrock is teeming with microorganisms protecting water quality

February 03, 2019 10:00 PM
The solution to nutrient pollution could be right below out feet. Literally. New study reveals the active and dynamic world of groundwater microbes.
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Interdependence and Stewardship: Piecing Together Humanity’s Relationship with the Earth

By Carlee Reber
June 05, 2019 01:06 PM
Will we show up in the geologic record in millions of years? The Anthropocene suggests the answer is yes: collective human impact on the environment will leave a definitive mark in future bedrock.
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