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Like Numbers? Love Labs? Consider a Math or Science Career

Like Numbers? Love Labs? Consider a Math or Science Career

If you like numbers or love labs, consider a math or science career.

By Laura Jeanne Hammond

June 05, 2007

Chemical ecologist
National average salary: $73,900

How do animals know where to find food or where the danger is—even if they can’t see anything?

It’s through chemocommunication—how animals use scent and taste to relay information to each other.

Dr. Shannon Olsson is a chemical ecologist in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA. She studies how marine animals use chemical communication in the ocean.

During college: Olsson has a bachelor’s in chemistry from Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y., and a Ph.D. in chemical ecology from Cornell University.

She says most research positions require at least a master’s degree.

After college: “For many researchers, there is no such thing as a typical day,” Olsson says. “One day you might find me in the lab observing sea urchins. The next day I could be out in Malibu collecting kelp to feed abalone.”

Scientists can work as college professors, or in private and public labs that study animal behavior and physiology, ecology and environmental conservation. There are also careers available in government organizations, zoos and aquariums.

Researchers have to be self-motivated and manage their time well to complete projects and report discoveries.

“We live in such an amazing universe, and science can take you to the stars or inside a single cell,” Olsson says. “Don’t be afraid if you aren’t sure what type of scientist you want to be. The best scientists I know are interested in many things.”

This article was reprinted with persmission from Next Step Magazine.


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