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Teaching Soil Science

It started with FFA!

Meghan Sindelar
Assistant Professor
University of Nebraska - Lincoln

I consider myself a: Soil Scientist

My Highest Degree: Doctorate

I received my degrees from: Kansas State University, 2008

Length of Career: My whole life, I grew up on a farm and knew I wanted to major in soil science because of FFA activities. I have not worked in any other field.

What was your career path to your current position?
I did some tutoring and coaching in high school and college so I tried to find teaching assistant opportunities in graduate school. With that background I was able to start a teaching faculty position right after completion of my doctoral degree.

What projects are you working on now? What interesting projects have you worked on/led in the past?
I spend more time on teaching that research. I have been working on teaching with case studies and having students solve problems and prepare reports as if they were soil consultants. I am also doing some research work on land application of gypsum from flue gas desulfurization.

What do you find most interesting about your work (either currently or a story of a past experience)?
Soil science is an incredibly broad field that most people don’t even think of and every aspect fascinates me. I like that soil science can collaborate with any other science from chemistry to watershed management to animal science.

What do you like best about your job and/or what do you like best about being in your profession?
I like helping other people discover the wonder and value of soil science. I think that by teaching others about soil conservation I make a bigger impact that trying to conserve soil by myself.

What’s the one thing you would change about your job/profession that would make it better?
I wish the media would stop promoting anti-agriculture sentiments. Agriculture is not to blame for all the soil and environmental concerns and is often a solution. Farmers provide more value than most Americans realize.

What would you say to someone thinking about entering the profession? What advice would you give for succeeding in this field?
Get out and work with the land! Sure, there is some chemistry involved in soil science but it isn’t as hard as you think.

What do you like doing in your free time?
Anything outside!