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Chemist

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Love science? I'm Shana and today we're going to meet a chemist whose job is to study water samples in the Florida Keys. Right here, talk about a dream job. 

 We have a facility that's located at the Everglades National Park Ranger Station here in Key Largo. It's where we have all of our field equipment and our boats. 

 Steve Cally loves all aspects of chemistry. Is there a favorite part you have about being a chemist? 

 I actually love the fact that I can spend some of my time in the field, some of my time in the lab, some of my time doing data analysis like this and some of my time writing up my results. 

 Sounds very exciting actually. 

 Good mix. 

 Yeah, so what is a chemist exactly? 

 A chemist is somebody who studies the chemical constituents of any matrix they're interested in. In this particular case, seawater. 

 Chemistry is a specialized industry. There are lots of places you can put your science skills to go use. Your work as a chemist is very specific as I'm sure every chemist work is. Can you just give us a few examples of other areas they may work in? 

 Sure, I'm obviously work in environmental chemistry. But there are chemists in many industries, for instance the drug industry, the medical industry. 

 Let's check out Steve's research. 

 This is our lab. 

 Ok. 

 It's a state of the art, it's a research facility. 

 Time to test some water samples. 

 In this particular case, we're going to go ahead and extract this right now and you're going to do the extraction for us. 

 Whoa, am I ready? 

 You are. 

 Ok. Back in his office, Steve analyzes the result using maps. 

 The reds represent high chlorophyll levels. The blues represent low chlorophyll levels. 

 So, what are your typical hours? 

 Well it depends. If I'm, if I'm here in West Palm Beach and working in the lab or the in the office, it's a normal 40 hour workweek, plus or minus. If we're in the Bay, we work 24 7 until the work gets done. 

 Unfortunately, there wasn't time for a trip to the Keys, but I did get a sneak peak at Steve in action. 

 These are actually dwarf Red Mangrove. And it's pretty tough to get a boat in there. 

 If this looks like fun to you, study hard. The industry is slowly growing, so there's lots of competition for top jobs at large pharmaceutical and biotech firms. So what is your educational background? 

 I have a BS degree from the University of Rhode Island. 

 And is that typical of the chemist to just? 

 Absolutely. In order to qualify to be a chemist you must have a bachelor, at least a bachelor's. And in fact, I've been hiring master's students as my technical staff as well. So it's important to have a higher degree. 

 Once you're working as a chemist, expect to earn about 56000 dollars a year. 

 So, what type of skills do you think will make you succeed as a chemist? 

 I think that you have to be very, very organized. It's also very important that you're able to read and follow instructions. 

 You should also enjoy science and be good with numbers. Now is there any math involved with all these numbers? 

 Oh boy, you got that right. 

 I quit, bye. 

[ Laughter ] Ok, so maybe chemistry isn't for me, but this fun fact sparked my interest. Pucker up, ladies we have chemist Hazel Bishop to thank for inventing smear proof lipstick. As you can see, there's lots of chemistry going on. Steve and I are going to get back to work, but I'll see you guys next time. 

[ Music ]

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