Updated: May 2
Many student scientists entering the field of hydrology are trying to meet other hydrologists and answer the questions, “What does a hydrologist do?” and, “What do I want to do as a hydrologist?” As I explored these questions during my last semester of my undergraduate studies at Pitzer College, I started to find clarity when I joined the American Geophysical Union Hydrology Section Student Subcommittee (H3S). H3S is an organization that creates professional development opportunities for early-career and student hydrologists, including undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and those in the first few years of their hydrology-related careers such as in consulting or policy. This post introduces resources H3S has to offer to undergraduate students, who are welcome to join as members or to participate in H3S events. I recommend that undergraduate students interested in hydrology utilize the following opportunities provided by H3S:
Expand into professional development beyond your own university or workplace
H3S organizes virtual events where you can meet other hydrologists, as well as panels and workshops at conferences like the AGU Fall Meeting. These resources are especially impactful for early-career scientists like undergraduate students – connecting with other professionals early could help you meet a potential graduate school adviser, find a summer internship, or connect with a diverse group of peers for an interesting research conversation. As a student, I find it useful to have a space separate from my university where I can engage with the greater scientific community.
Enhance your leadership skills and education
Through H3S, I led a team and participated in professional development activities that are both fun and research-oriented. For example, H3S helped me learn about a conference called Frontiers in Hydrology that I would not have known about otherwise. There, I co-convened sessions of hydrology presentations and also enjoyed Puerto Rico. H3S members carry out a variety of tasks. Currently as a second-year member, I contribute my leadership skills to the group by coordinating networking events for early career and student hydrologists. I’m leading the organization of a panel of speakers for an event called Navigating Non-Academic Waters, which is a panel of hydrologists working in industry who will share their experiences and advice virtually. Please consider attending!
Identify and refine your career goals
Hydrology is a niche field, and many career opportunities ranging from graduate student funding to jobs can seem hidden or underpublicized. The H3S group works to address this gap by helping early-career scientists to learn about possible career paths. Just talking to other hydrologists at the networking events has helped me learn about more possibilities. Furthermore, the H3S Twitter page shares specific opportunities, such as a website called Josh’s Water Jobs with extensive international hydrology job postings. Maybe I will use this page to find work in Australia, Mexico or another country at some point, who knows! H3S also runs a regular blog with all different types of resources for students and early-career researchers that you can check out here. The blog includes diversity resources, such as a database to help identify hydrologists who are people of color.
Get to know awesome hydrologists
The best part of H3S is getting to know awesome scientists who offer diverse perspectives. I often ask for advice from more experienced members, who are eager to share resources and stories of navigating the challenges of graduate school and jobs. When I was deciding between my two top-choice graduate programs, for instance, upon request the H3S group made me a list of factors they considered important for making a graduate school decision. I consider my fellow H3S members as my work friends, peers, and mentors, and I recommend connecting with our group at H3S events because there are a lot of good people here.
How you can get involved
H3S hosts many events, such as virtual networking sessions that are free and open to the public, where you can chat with hydrologists from around the glob. These events occur throughout the year, just give our Twitter page @AGU_H3S a follow to learn when the next one will take place. If you are interested in joining H3S as a member, applications open in December. The group’s regular updates and resources can be found on the website (https://agu-h3s.org/), email listserve (signup available), and Twitter (@AGU_H3S), which all offer information about upcoming events.
Author: Abby McCarthy, Syracuse University Graduate Student, Twitter: @abbygeology