Student: Joshua Otero Pichardo
Name: Otero-Pichardo, Joshua
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Institution: University of Puerto Rico
Campus: Mayaguez Campus
Expected date of graduation: Dec 2014
Degree: B.S in Agronomy
USDA Agency of interest: USDA-ARS Beltsville Maryland
Worked in an internship at the USDA-NRCS North Dakota under the supervision of Michelle Doyle, Morton County Distric Conservationist.
Description of career experience (what I learned):
During my work experience with the NRCS I learned soil classification, soil mapping, worked with crops cover, participated in conferences about no till, soil health. I also
warked with the status review of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), learned about wetlands, National Resources Inventory, Wildlife Habitat Evaluation and with Plant
Material Center Grass Clippings / Planting Evaluations.
What is your perception of agriculture now?
Besides being vital for humans agriculture is a field that involves many branches of science and job opportunities. New technologies promise to be a major positive impact
on agriculture products and the economy of the country.
How has this career experience broadened your employment opportunities?
I went under the SCEP program which guides their internal students to have the necessary training in order to compete in the future for a permanent job in the USDA. Having
experience prior to graduation puts me one step ahead of others.
Career and research aspirations:
I aspire to finish my degree in agronomy and participate in every internship and undergraduate research opportunities that arise. Within the next five years I aspire to finish
graduate studies and find a job at the USDA- NRCS, ARS, APHIS and Forest Service in Puerto Rico or any state of the United States. In ten years I aspire to have a solid
record as a federal employee and I hope I have reached a position of leadership within the agency. I see myself being realized professionally and will have my own land
to produce food and create jobs for my country.
Bilingual, English/Spanish – Computer literacy – microorganism inoculation and media preparation – Soil mapping – Soil Classification Testing – Cation Exchange Capacity
Testing – Electrical Conductivity Testing – Spectrophotometry Technique – Extraction of DNA Technique – PCR technique.
The impact of my career experience:
The reseach experiences and the summer internship at the USDA-NRCS has given me the necessary skills to become a competent scientist in the near future. My career
experience gave me an idea of what will be my future job and what I will have to be facing. The internship gave me experiences that placed me a step up ahead of the
competition to get a job at the USDA. I had the opportunity to put into practice my adquired knowledge in college. Thanks to this career experience I now I know what
extra courses I should take to give my best performance as an employee and as a scientist. Now I am more focused on what will be my graduate studies. There are
opportunities to be part of USDA, you just need to know how to take advantage to the fullest.