Hydrologic Technician, Utah Water Science Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
U.S. Geological Survey
 
How Travis Gibson got involved with U.S. Geological Survey
I was taking a few general education courses at a local community college and trying to decide on a degree path when I discovered the Hydrologic Studies Program at Gateway Community College in Phoenix, AZ. I met with the director of the program, Mario, to learn more about it. He told me all about the courses that are taught in the program as well as the different employment opportunities available. One of the potential careers he told me about was as a Hydrologic Technician with the U.S. Geological Survey. I was immediately very interested, and Mario told me more about the job and put me in touch with somebody who had completed the program and gone on to work for the USGS. I decided very quickly that this was the path that I wanted to pursue. Gateway Community College has a partnership with the USGS in which a team from the USGS visits the college twice a year to recruit students in the Hydrologic Studies program who are interested in working for the USGS. I interviewed with the team and landed a summer 2010 internship as a Hydrologic Technician at the Utah Water Science Center in Salt Lake City. I continued to work as a SCEP Hydrologic Technician in the Tempe, AZ Field Office while I completed my final two semesters at Gateway. Before graduating I was offered a full time position as a hydrologic technician back in Salt Lake City. I have been at that position for about a year now and I am as happy as ever about my decision to work for the USGS. The partnership between Gateway and the USGS was an outstanding way to connect with the USGS, and the USGS recruiting team is excellent at matching students with opportunities across the country.
 
Experience
The whole summer working in the Utah Water Science Center was full of great experiences and highlights, and really enjoyed the time I spent working in the Tempe Field office. My favorite experience was going on the Verde River helicopter field run. We visited some really remote sites to make discharge measurements, perform maintenance and repairs, and collect water quality samples at gages on the Verde River and some of its tributaries via a helicopter. Not many jobs will pay me to ride in a helicopter and wade in streams in beautiful locations.
 
Travis Gibson's accomplishments
Over the course of my career so far I have gained experiences in virtually all the aspects of being a Hydrologic Technician. I have performed water quality sampling of ground water and surface water and made discharge measurements of streams and wells. I also assisted with data collection for a study of total dissolved solids transport into the Colorado River system. I have had tons of terrific training opportunities on the job, online, and in formal training classes. One accomplishment that I am particularly proud of is winning the USGS WRD Retirees Association Scholarship while I was an intern in the Salt Lake City office.
 
Travis Gibson's next steps
I plan to continue developing and improving my skills as a Hydrologic Technician and I look forward to unique and challenging opportunities that I know will present themselves as I continue my career with the USGS.
 
Hometown: Heber, Arizona
School: Gateway Community College
Major: Hydrologic Studies Associate of Applied Science