Ben Dawson

Degree: BS Ecological Engineering

Graduation Year: 2011

Current Occupation:

Hydrology and Riparian Ecology Field Technician for R2 Resource Consultants

I’ve been employed to the extent I want to be for the last six years.  I’ve worked with the Forest Service’s PNW research station for four summers and once as an REU student with the Eco-Informatics Summer Institute, and now this ecology and hydrology scientist position with R2.

How did OSU prepare you for your job?:

The project I work on is immense, and it’s a full study of the ecosystem and the dam’s effects from a science, engineering, social and economic stance, and my education greatly helped me to have a cursory knowledge of most of these systems, which allows for cross-disciplinary communication.  Outside school I also gained practical experience working as a field ecologist and research hydrologist, which helped me gain a strong work experience to come with a skillset for the job.

Advice to current students:

If you want to be a through-and-through engineer, be sure to take an AutoCAD class, and maybe even look into some structures classes; these classes are good to have if you want to get into water resource engineering, or any form of engineering where you will be doing design.  I would also recommend that you take time between schooling (undergraduate and graduate studies) to get real-world experience, and I would suggest that you find work that aligns with your studies or interests as soon as possible; to find work in the field you want takes trial and error, especially since we have so many opportunities it’s valuable to try an array of them out.

Lastly, don’t feel bashful to dream large.  We have immense problems to be solved and we must engage them as soon as possible.  This pursuit will require relentless work to achieve your dreams and future-successes, and it will take a long time, but hold strong; the world needs you and your efforts aligned with the problems you think that need to be solved - the problems are out there to be solved, and be as uncompromising as possible to solve them, we will thank you later.