What is your position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
I am an associate professor of vadose zone science in the departments of Agronomy & Horticulture and Biological Systems Engineering. Most people have never heard of the vadose zone but have seen it when they pass by road cuts or new construction sites. The vadose zone is the layer of ground between the land’s surface and a water table or aquifer. I conduct research and teach courses on hydrology and water quality in the vadose zone. Most of my research relates to soil remediation, land reclamation and agronomy.
What drew you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln?
The resources and people at UNL are fantastic and excite me a lot. The environment here is a place where folks can boldly take on difficult and intimidating challenges that society will face in the future. I enjoy working with students and colleagues on tackling these challenges.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy interacting with students the most, whether it is in the classroom, while performing research or during brief conversations in the hallway. I enjoy learning about their interests and lived experiences, while getting the opportunity to help them discover pathways for their careers. At the university, I get to learn something new about people and science every day. That makes for a very enjoyable job.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Without a doubt, it is being a part of a fun and loving family. Getting the chance to be with my wife and daughter each day is the greatest achievement for me. At work, it has been helping students learn that they can successfully take on problems that first seem intimidating and insurmountable. I cannot think of any greater achievement than helping others see and realize their own potential.
What is something that most people don't know about you?
I am a first-generation college student, and I had no interest in going to college after I finished high school. However, I really enjoyed the university environment and found a way to make a career out of staying in college.
What is your life like outside of work?
I spend most of my time with my wife and daughter. We love traveling to see new landscapes and cultures. More so, we just love laughing together every day. Currently, my daily routine typically includes taking walks, watching an episode or two of Bob Ross and feeding the urban wildlife in my backyard.