Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pedologist Abroad?

I suppose I'll open this blog with a short post about who I am, what this blog is, and what I hope to do with it.

I'm presently an American PhD student in Soil and Watershed Science at the University of Maryland, in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology. Put succinctly, I'm a "pedologist," a basic soil scientist. I study how soils form, how they are distributed across the landscape, and how they can be managed. I'll get into my research in another post.

I'm also a recipient of a Fulbright Student Program grant to spend the next year studying in Denmark at the University of Southern Denmark. The Fulbright program was started a few years after World War II as an international exchange program, and dozens of countries participate. It is both diplomatic and academic. It has two objectives. The first is to prevent future wars by improving the understanding between peoples of different nations. That's a pretty big objective, but in general it is why the program exists. The second objective is to, much more specifically, fund individual research projects like my own that may benefit the countries involved.

So this blog is intended to be a record of my work along those lines. I've traveled out of the country before, to Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Iceland, and of course now Denmark (the list is a bit shorter if you don't count layovers, but even some of those might end up getting posts so they're included for now).

My hope is to entertain and educate my readers. Some posts will be text, but there will be some videos as well. Not all posts will have to do with soil science, or even science. Some will just be about my general observations while abroad, others may be about how I got here. I'll write about cultural differences, history of where I am, and even about my difficulties learning foreign languages. A lot of people have asked me to start this blog, so if you want to hear about something specific, leave me a comment! I'll do my best to respond to those.

Finally, the disclaimer: the opinions expressed in these posts are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my funding agencies or my academic institutions.



  1. Couple ideas for blog posts:
    1. Bizarre Foods
    2. The biggest/glaringly obvious difference between soil in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the Baltic Sea drainage basin
    3. Drinking culture
    4. Non-US celebrated holidays and US-celebrated holidays (and how they differ)

    Thanks, Barret! And I know you're busy so don't feel obligated to do any of those as blog posts.

    1. I think those are great ideas! I'll make them happen. The holidays one might take a while, I'll have to get through them first. I know the Danes are serious about Christmas!

  2. Very awesome, and ambitious. I look forward to more.

    1. Thanks much! I'll keep them coming.