A Day in the Life features the people, places and things that make aquatic field research possible.
This July 2023 we’ve asked Morgan Jutte, a Full Time Technician with Wright State University – Lake Campus, to share her experiences as a member of a Base Crew for the H2Ohio Wetland Monitoring Program.
What are three things you do (almost) every week in your job?
- Collect water samples.
- Analyze water samples for nutrients.
- Communicate with the public.
How does your job vary day to day?
No day is the same! My job is a good mixture of spending time in the field which entails collecting samples or installing monitoring equipment and working in the lab completing nutrient analysis and data processing.
There is really nothing average about this job. Every day is so different and interesting. One morning I might be out collecting water samples, and another morning I could be analyzing water samples for nutrients. If it rained an inch, I might be getting in a car for an hour driving to Troy to collect samples. Sometimes you never know what the day is going to bring.
Where is your favorite place to collect data and why?
Burntwood-Langenkamp Wetland is my favorite place to collect data. It is amazing to see how water quality improvements from the wetland will one day make an impact on Grand Lake St. Marys. Also, the neighbors have a dog that always joins us for sampling. Everyone needs some dog cuddles.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in your job?
The coolest thing I have seen so far is people coming together to plant 4,000 wetland plants at Burntwood-Langenkamp in one day! Honestly, the day was so hot and miserable, but people still showed up to help. Wearing waders when it’s 90°F is not fun. It’s amazing how much people care and want to help make an impact in some way.
Who do you work with (almost) every day and how?
I work with Dr. Stephen Jacquemin and undergraduate students daily. Stephen and I work together to coordinate sampling of multiple wetlands in the southwest portion of Ohio. I have four undergraduate students working in the lab who have touched H2Ohio in some way. I teach them things such as water and sediment sampling, nutrient analysis, and data organization.
What is one skill you recommend a student learns to be successful in this job?
Effective communication is so important in this field. Students should never be afraid to ask for help. I am one year into my career, and I still ask for help at least once a week. Being able to ask for help and accept guidance is what will help you grow into being a good scientist. Also, learning how to share our data with the public is important. Not everyone will understand our findings in the same way we do so the data has to be shared in a way the public will understand and be able to utilize.
How did your coursework prepare you for this job? What is something new you learned since starting this job?
My educational background is chemistry with a focus in analytical and environmental so my quantitative and instrumental analysis and environmental chemistry courses really helped me be prepared for this job. My courses taught me skills such as sampling procedure, nutrient analysis, and data analysis which I use daily in my job. Surprisingly, I didn’t really know anything about wetlands when I started this job. Now, I know so much I could talk for hours.