Jeremy Houser ’16 is digging up dirt.
Houser worked alongside his classmate, Molly Bina ’16, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory in Mandan, N.D., this summer.
The lab is close to their hometown of Bismarck, N.D., making it a natural choice for the two science students as they considered summer employment.
Over the course of an eight-week internship, Houser studied soil samples and tested the lab’s methodology. One example of Houser’s inventiveness in the lab was using a spectrofluorophotometer (spec), an instrument used for water studies, to look at the soil samples he had collected.
“Jeremy came in and enjoyed working with the instruments,” USDA soil scientist Dr. Jonathan Halvorson says.
When he started at Concordia, Houser thought he would be going into medicine. Through his experience at the Mandan lab, however, he has solidified a future in research.
“I realized that’s something I want to do with my life,” he says.
Bina, a biology student and member of the women’s soccer team, worked at the lab last summer and encouraged Houser to apply for a position this year.
“I had told Jeremy about it because he was looking into research,” she says.
Though the two students had different projects, they worked together in the same lab.
Halvorson has worked with the USDA as a soil scientist since 2000. As a researcher at the lab in Mandan, he drafted a proposal to bring in a student to research soil samples.
“We want to increase opportunities for people to become interested in research,” he says. “Agricultural research in particular.”
Halvorson speaks highly of the work Houser and Bina accomplished during their time at the lab and believes the experience is valuable for any students.
“The real value to this is the education that we’re able to impart,” he says.
Both Houser and Bina were able to apply the knowledge they had learned in Concordia’s classrooms to their work in the lab in Mandan. Houser wants to encourage students at Concordia to seek out opportunities such as this one.
“You get to see top-level research being done,” he says. “I want to tell students there are opportunities out there. You just have to go find them.”