Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself, including your name and your profession. My name is Sharon Bachmann, and I am a sales manager for Metallix Refining located in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. I also assist with our marketing department to create web pages, brochures, articles, etc., to help our customers learn more about Metallix Refining and the state-of-the-art technologies and equipment we use. What kind of work happens at a refinery? Our company processes and recycles scrap material that contains precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium. We work with companies that use precious metals to make a wide variety of product, from chips that go in your smartphone to pacemakers that help people’s hearts beat with a regular rhythm, to catalytic converters that clean the emissions that come from your car’s engine. We process this scrap by either melting, burning, dissolving or pulverizing the material. Why is this kind of work important? Mining for precious metals is much more than putting a pan in a river, letting the water flow through a sieve and taking out the grains of gold or using dynamite to blow some rocks from a mine shaft and using a pickaxe to collect the metal. It actually is a long process that can be very destructive to the environment and the earth. By recycling the precious metals from manufacturing scrap and waste, we are part of an important recycling chain. We process our clients’ scrap, pay them for the value of the precious metals and then have the metal further refined where it can go back into the precious metal marketplace where those same companies can buy the metal again to use to make their products. It is true recycling. What is the coolest thing about your job? I think the coolest part of my job is being a part of the global effort to take care of our planet by helping our customers to refine and recycle precious metal. It is vital to the health our environment, and I think each one of us should be focused on doing what we can to help. From collecting and recycling your glass and plastic bottles to throwing your trash in the proper receptacles to turning off lights and appliances when not in use, even the little things we can do every day add up to being good stewards. I also enjoy learning about the different ways precious metals are used in a wide variety of products. Do you have any fun/interesting facts about refining that you can share with our readers? When most people think of gold and silver, they think of jewelry, but precious metals have many cool uses. Did you know that there is a silver coating in certain types of glass and mirrors? Or that platinum and palladium catalysts are used to help make many helpful medicines? Gold and platinum are used in many medical devices like defibrillators, guidewires, stents, catheters, hearing aids and neuromodulation (nerves and brain) implants. And new uses and technology are being developed everyday that use precious metals; it is ever-evolving and amazing.
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. My name is Rachel Choi, I’m 25 years old, and I️ am the owner of Alpha & Omega Dance Academy, a Christian dance studio in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I️ not only run the business, but also teach some of the dance classes and plan our big dance productions! I️ also love Jesus, theatre and music, and those are all huge influences for me when I dance. How did you become interested in dancing and fitness? I️ owe a lot of my interest in dance to my parents, who put me in my first class. Ironically, I stopped after that first year and wasn’t interested in dance for several years, until I saw my older sister on stage. Seeing all those ballerinas in their beautiful costumes and pointe shoes really inspired me to start dancing again! Also, my dad is a doctor and my mom was a nutritionist (understanding healthy foods), so they have always taught me the importance of eating healthily and being physically active. What do you love most about being fit? I️ feel much more energetic and confident when I️ am physically fit. Research also shows that being physically active makes you smarter, helps you sleep better and makes you more creative and happy. And since dance is a hobby of mine, it’s a very fun way to stay fit. How much time do you spend training when you are getting ready for a performance? All of my dancers are in their dance class(es) on a weekly basis, but some of my advanced dancers and I are in the dance studio every day! If we have an upcoming performance, we take time to stretch, warm-up, practice any difficult movements and then we rehearse our dances constantly. But we don’t just practice in the studio; we also practice at home. What is something you wish everyone knew about dancing? I wish everyone knew: 1. That you don’t have to already know how to dance to take a class, and 2. How fun it is! Some people tell me they don’t have rhythm or they’re not flexible enough to dance, but that’s precisely what the class is for — if we already knew how to dance, we wouldn’t have to take a class. I also try to make my classes a lot of fun by encouraging friendships among my students and by making sure that we don’t just work hard but also play/laugh hard! Do you have any advice for kids about how to make healthy choices about fitness? The best way to stay fit is to find a physical activity that you like doing and to be very careful with what you eat. Keep soda, candy and desserts as special treats rather than your normal diet. Then, try different physical activities to see what you like the best (but make sure you try it for a full school year or semester before deciding). Whether it’s dance or soccer or running, there’s a physical activity out there that could become your next hobby! Visit Alpha & Omega Dance Academy to learn more: www.alphaomegadanceacademy.com
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself, including your name and your profession. My name is Greg Gill, and I’m a peanut farmer in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. I also represent Arkansas’ peanut farmers on the National Peanut Board. I started farming with my father when I was young, and this is my 41st crop. Farming is all I ever wanted to do. I grow peanuts, soybeans, corn and rice on 10,000 acres. I’m married and have three children and two grandchildren. I love living in the country, and riding horses is one of hobbies. What is a typical work day like for you? There’s always work to be done of the farm, but planting and harvest seasons are the busiest. I usually get up by 6 a.m., and my crew and I meet at the shop at 7 a.m. We talk about what’s coming up in the day and what we need to get done. During the busy times or if we know there’s bad weather coming in, we’ll work until it gets dark or even later, sometimes eating lunch as we’re driving the tractor through the field. Outside of planting and harvesting, we’ll repair and maintain our equipment and set up irrigation pipes and things like that. What do you love most about your job? I love being outside and working outside. I don’t like being cooped up in an office. The most rewarding thing about farming to me is planting a seed, nurturing it and watching it come up and grow. It’s a pleasure to see these plants start from nothing to providing food for everyone. Plants are kind of like people; you take care of them, and if they’re sick, you help them get better. You try to do whatever it takes to make the plant do all it can do. Do you have any fun facts about peanuts that you can share with our readers? 94 percent of Americans have at least one jar of peanut butter in their pantry. Peanuts have more muscle-building protein than any other nut — 7 grams per serving. Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the USA – Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter. Astronaut Alan Shepard brought a peanut with him to the moon. George Washington Carver promoted more than 300 uses for peanuts in the early 1900s. It takes fewer than 5 gallons of water to grow one serving of peanuts. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about peanuts? Many people are surprised to learn that peanuts do not grow on trees like other nuts. Peanuts grow underground. When you look at a peanut field, you’ll see the plant’s green leaves above the soil. The peanuts themselves grow underneath the soil. When it’s harvest time, a machine called a digger goes through the field, pulls up the peanut plant and flips it upside down, peanuts-side up. The peanuts dry for a few days and then another machine called a combine goes through the field. The combine separates the peanuts from the rest of the plant and then the peanuts get on their way to your house for your snacks and PB&Js.
Ari Sarsalari Digital On-Camera Meteorologist at The Weather Channel What does a meteorologist do? A meteorologist forecasts the weather and tells people what to expect. Weather affects people’s lives every day, and it’s different every day, so that keeps it fun. I love my job because it’s not easy to communicate to people about how the weather is going to affect them. It’s fun to come up with unique ways of talking to people so they can understand the forecast. How did you become interested in this work? I’ve always been very interested in math and science. I was never good at English. I knew I was going to go into a science-related field of work, and I was always interested in the weather. When I was a kid, I used to be scared of thunderstorms. So, when I was in college, I started off in engineering, but after my first year, I was bored of that major, so I studied something I have always been interested in — weather. What training does it take to be a meteorologist? There are two routes you can take to become a broadcast meteorologist. Many people go to school for broadcasting and then take weather courses on the side. Or, there are others (like me) who went to school for a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, and ended up as a broadcast meteorologist. I prefer the latter path because you’re forced to be yourself, rather than a broadcaster. Either way, be prepared for A LOT of math and physics. Have you ever had a scary weather experience? If so, can you share it with our readers? I’ve chased tornadoes, been in hurricanes, snowstorms, etc., but by far the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced was a few years ago, when lightning hit a tree in the front yard of my house. The entire house flashed orange, and it was the loudest explosion you could imagine. I’m not scared of tornadoes or any kind of severe weather because you can predict those things and you know where they’re going, but lightning terrifies me. it’s completely unpredictable and deadly. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about the weather? There’s no such thing as heat lightning! Thunderstorms are always the thing that produces lightning. Whenever you see what someone calls “heat lightning,” it’s usually a thunderstorm that’s far enough away that you can’t hear the thunder. Don’t believe me? Check the radar next time you see “heat lightning.” I guarantee there will be a thunderstorm within 150 miles of you.
…A Woodcarver Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. How did you become interested in this work? I was trained by a German woodcarver named Frederick Brunner and trained at the studio of Cascieri and diBiccari in Boston, Massachusetts. I learned both clay modeling for bronze statuary work as well as woodcarving anything from ornaments to fine art. I got interested in woodcarving when I was in junior high school. At that time, my best friend had a summer house and an uncle who lived on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I went down to visit them, and he said to me, “Let’s go to my uncle’s shop.” He did not tell me what his uncle did, but when we walked in, I smelled the scent of pine, saw a man carving a sign and I said, “What a wonderful way to spend the day.” I stayed there all afternoon. At the end of the week, I went home, forgot about it and went through many more years of school. During college, I did some woodcarving as a hobby while taking my school classes. After I graduated college, I interviewed with a woodcarver and became an apprentice. What does a woodcarver do? I do a variety of work, from carved ornaments for colleges and public buildings to wood-carved shades for massive pipe organs found in churches to lettering work at colleges and private institutions. I also do fine art woodcarving and sculptural projects, such as carvings above fireplaces, and statuary work. What is your favorite kind of wood to work with and why? I like to use butternut, which is a local wood and is air dried. It is a handsome wood, carves well with a beautiful grain and is my favorite wood. That said, I do carve a lot of different woods because I often have to match existing wood in the building I am working in when I am designing. When I teach classes, I have my students carve in sugar pine because it is easy to carve for a beginner who is learning new hand carving techniques. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about woodcarving? I would want people to know that woodcarving can be looked at as a modern art. It is often associated with antique furniture and old folk art. Like the English language, which has been used from early American times and to the present, woodcarving can be reinvented with a newness to represent the styles of the present as well. What is your favorite thing about your job? I do a variety of things at my studio. That’s what I like — the variety. I really like doing different aspects of woodcarving and sculpture projects in my studio. I like teaching and writing articles on the woodcarving and sharing the skill, given my unique training. The variety keeps me interested just like you like going to different classes in school.
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. My name is Len Cabral, and I am a full-time storyteller. I have been sharing stories with children in grades K through 12 for 40 years. I travel and perform nationally and internationally at festivals, museums, theaters and educational conferences. I tell folktales, legends and fairy tales from around the world and original tales with some poetry thrown in for good measure. When did you know you wanted to be a storyteller? I didn’t know about storytelling when I was growing up. I knew that I loved it when my teachers read aloud to the class. I still love to hear people read aloud, and I like to read aloud myself even when I’m by myself. When I was a kid, I was not any different from you. I thought I’d be a fireman or football player or basketball player, typical boy stuff. I did know that whatever I did when I grew up, I wanted to enjoy it. I feel blessed that I have a job that I enjoy. Why is it important? I realized the importance of storytelling when in the early 1970s I was working in a daycare center and I oversaw 15 five-year-olds. That is when I discovered the importance of storytelling as a teaching tool. The teachers that we remember best from our years of schooling were the ones that told stories because stories connect us to each other and help build community. Stories also help us understand each other and lead listeners to an area of compassion and empathy What is one thing you wish everyone knew about telling stories? That all our ancestors, no matter where they came from, all told stories. Since the beginning of time, people have told stories, and we still tell stories — so it must be important. I want adults to know when their children ask them for a story, they are not asking for an epic. They just want to hear a story. They want to know the time you got bit by a dog! About the time you almost got bit by a dog but ran faster than you thought you could! (That’s a story with a happy ending!) They also want to know if you ever cut yourself and had to get stitches. They want to know how you got that scar on your arm or leg or hand. I want adults and parents to tell stories to their children. What is your favorite thing about your job? Seeing the sense of wonder on the faces of the listeners, children and adults, and also making people aware of the pleasure and power of the spoken word.
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. I am a Ph.D. student at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, majoring in vertebrate paleontology, with a minor in science education. I completed my bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I am interested in studying how the distribution of sharks has changed over time as ocean temperatures fluctuated. Using my research, we could provide strategies to better manage fish stocks and safeguard shark populations. Education is an important component to my research. I believe that the only way to effect change is by encouraging others to care about a topic. Please tell our readers a little bit about what you do. I am a part of The FOSSIL Project at FLMNH, a National Science Foundation- funded online paleontological community (myfossil.org). Through FOSSIL, I can provide paleontological content to members, showcase upcoming opportunities and initiate conversations between amateurs and professional paleontologists as well as connect K-12 teachers with resources in their area. I organize professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers that increase their knowledge of paleontology, evolution, fossils and related content. In the past year, I have taken over 20 teachers from across the United States out to an active fossil site in central Florida. While there, our participants learned how to dig for and identify fossils as well as safely remove and prepare fossils back at our prep lab. I am also involved with iDigFossils (paleoteach. org), an NSF-funded program in collaboration with FLMNH and the College of Education at the University of Florida. IDigFossils helps K-12 teachers integrate science technology engineering and mathematics with the use of 3D scanners and printers. We collaborate with our participating teachers to provide science content in lessons that incorporate the scanning and printing of fossils. In this manner, we can bring fossils into the classrooms and make lessons more interesting while teaching technological skills to students. What is the coolest fossil you’ve ever seen? The coolest fossil I have ever seen is every single one I have had the opportunity to explore within FLMNH’s collections! I have the great privilege of having access to over 4 million specimens ranging from vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, and micropaleontology. My favorite are, of course, shark teeth, but some of the specimens coming out of our active fossil site, Montbrook, are also quite interesting. We have found teleoceras (rhinoceros), gomphothere (elephant-like proboscideans), as well as many turtle specimens, including trachemys inflata. While at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama last summer, I had the distinct opportunity to hold a vertebra of titanoboa, a 40-foot-long extinct snake. I cannot help but be amazed by every fossil that I get to see because I am astounded that I am holding something that lived millions of years ago! What kind of training does it take to be a fossil hunter? Anyone can be a paleontologist! You do not need a college degree to go out and search for fossils, only a fossil collecting permit, an understanding of the laws around collecting, and a plastic bag to bring back your finds. What I love most about paleontology is that, once you find your first fossil, you are hooked! Why is this work important? My work is important, not just to increase paleontological knowledge, but to inspire future generations to care about science.
What’s It Like To Be…. Peter D’Amato PLEASE TELL OUR READERS A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. My name is Peter D’Amato, and I am the founder/co-owner of California Carnivores, Inc., the largest carnivorous plant nursery in the country. We house the largest collection of insect- and animal-eating plants in the world that’s open to the public, and we ship our plants throughout the country by mail order (www.californiacarnivores.com). I started the nursery in 1989, and we are a very popular tourist attraction in Sonoma County, California, located in the wine country about an hour north of San Francisco. I am the author of the award-winning best-seller The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants, which was first published in 1997, and the updated/ revised version came out in 2013. CAN YOU SHARE A COOL FACT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT CARNIVOROUS PLANTS? Carnivorous plants are not only bizarre and fascinating; they are also very beautiful. There are around 700 species known around the world, with thousands of species and hybrids in cultivation. They usually grow in wet, mineral-poor soils and have evolved strange trapping methods to catch and eat insects and small animals for nutrients not in the soils where they grow. While the Venus ytrap may be the most famous, there are also many hundreds of pitcher plants that drug and drown prey, sticky sundews and butterworts that catch insects with glue and often-moving tentacles and even some that have suction traps that feed on nearly microscopic creatures. People love to grow them not only because “they don’t just sit there,” but also for their often-gorgeous leaves and owers. Plus, many are very easy to grow. One thing that usually surprises people who are unfamiliar with carnivorous plants is that while they grow around the world, the United States has more varieties than any place else in the world. The Venus ytrap, American pitcher plants, many sundews, butterworts, bladderworts and the cobra plant all grow in North America, usually in bogs and wet grassy savannahs. WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE? Our jobs at California Carnivores are a lot of fun and very labor intensive! We propagate our plants through seed, division, leaf and root cuttings, and we also have a tissue culture laboratory run by our employee Mike Wilder, where he multiplies thousands of plants in tissue culture test tubes. It makes us very happy when customers find out how easy most of the plants are to grow. WHEN/ HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN CARNIVOROUS PLANTS? My interest began back when I was a kid in the 1960s, growing up on the New Jersey shore by the pine barrens. I ordered Venus flytraps from Famous Monsters magazine, and they promptly died. Then a fellow classmate showed me pitcher plants and sundews in bogs right near where I lived. They looked like they came from outer space! In my school library, I found a National Geographic magazine that had a famous article all about carnivorous plants in the United States, and I was amazed to nd out Venus flytraps grew only in North and South Carolina! I also read books like Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin, who stated he cared more about insect-eating plants than the origin of all the species of life on earth. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU AREN’T WORKING WITH CARNIVOROUS PLANTS? I love to read and watch movies (especially ones that deal with esh- eating plants like Little Shop of Horrors, The Day of the Triads and Invasion of the Body Snatchers). In fact, much of my free time the past few years has been writing a science-fiction/horror novel. I’m 80 percent through the book, which is about 400 pages so far. It’s a delightful escape for me on my days off!
An Economist Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. My name is Tibor Besedes and I am associate professor of economics at Georgia Institute of Technology. I was born in Croatia and came to the U.S. in 1995 to attend college. I obtained my undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University in 1998 and my master’s and PhD degrees from Rutgers University in 2000 and 2003. Prior to Atlanta, GA, I have lived in Baton Rouge, LA.; New Brunswick, N.J.; Fort Worth, Tex.; Budapest, Hungary and Zagreb Croatia. Please tell our readers a little bit about what an economist does (or what your specific job in that field entails). To work as a college professor of economics, you need to complete a PhD degree in economics. As a professor of economics, I perform two roles. One entails teaching economics classes to students at Georgia Tech, while the other revolves around conducting research on economic questions. As an educator, my role is to teach my students basic tools of economics so that they can apply them themselves in either their studies or their lives. As a researcher, my job is to formulate new economic questions which I then answer using relevant data and economic models. Why is this work important? On the teaching side I provide my students with tools which allow them to make better decisions, to better understand the world around them, and to become better informed voters. On the research side, I add to the combined e orts of all economists to better understand how the economy works and to help people make better decisions. What is one thing everyone should know about about economics? Economics is not about knowing how to make money, but about trying to understand how to improve everyone’s lives. What is the coolest thing about your job? That I get to travel to various states and countries presenting and discussing my research with other economists. I have traveled to 15 different states and all continents except for Africa and Antarctica to participate in various conferences. What kind of training does it take to work as an economist? To work as a college professor of economics, you need to complete a PhD degree in economics. Can you tell us something challenging about your work? Keeping my students interested and motivated in something I nd inherently interesting. Getting myself to stick to my own self-imposed deadlines when it comes to completing my own research projects. What is a typical day like for you? On a day when I teach, when I arrive to my o ce. I look at my lecture notes for the lectures I am about to give. I go to my two classes to give the lectures and o en see students in between the two classes I teach in a day. e rest of the time is usually devoted to making sure all online materials are ready for my students. On a non-teaching day, when there are no meetings and administrative work, I would get to my o ce and work on my research projects. What do you like to do when you are not working? I like spending time with my family and friends. I like watching movies, watching sports, reading and traveling.
Sarah Perreault | Senior Editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself. I live in New England, I love trivia and interesting pieces of information, and I enjoy working in my garden, kayaking and skiing with my husband and kids. I’m also a big fan of baseball! My favorite team is the Boston Red Sox. What is The Old Farmer’s Almanac and what do you do there? The Old Farmer’s Almanac is a reference book that comes out every fall. It’s full of lots of interesting information, but it is best known for its weather predictions. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America, founded way back in 1792. That means the Almanac was around when George Washington was president! We are celebrating its 225th year. I am the Almanac’s senior editor. My job includes writing, proofing and fact-checking all the things the Almanac releases every year — things like calendars, cookbooks, gardening magazines and both the Almanac for Kids and e Old Farmer’s Almanac. I am also very involved in the food section of our website, Almanac.com. I answer readers’ questions, test recipes and take photos for recipes on Almanac.com. Where do you find information to put in The Old Farmer’s Almanac? The editorial staff (there are six of us) sit down and brainstorm ideas that will give helpful information about gardening, food, history, nature and anything else we can think of. When fact checking the information in the articles, we do research to make sure our information is correct. What kind of training does it take to do you job? Editing involves a whole lot of reading, writing and research, so it’s important to have a college degree that involves those three things. For my job with the Almanac, my love for trivia and small, interesting bits of information has also come in handy. Editing is also a team effort, so people who want to be editors need to be able to work with many different kinds of people to create something like the Almanac. Why is this work important/how does it apply to everyday life for most people? Our goal is to make e Old Farmer’s Almanac useful every day of the year. You can look through the pages to find the weather where you live, and at the same time, a delicious pie recipe. If you are looking for some information on when to plant vegetables, you can also find the date of the full Moon and at what time the Sun sets. It’s also very rewarding to work at a publication that is as old as the Almanac. It’s like being connected to a piece of American history! What is a typical day like for you? I drive to work an hour each way, so I like to keep a consistent schedule, arriving at the once around the same time daily (8:30 a.m.). With editing, my daily tasks shift depending on the time of the year. I will either be working on The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Garden Guide, or any of the calendars we create. Every other year, we work on e Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids and usually a cookbook. A typical day for me is filled with research and fact checking. at means I spend most of my time reading, writing and hunting for information. What do you most enjoy about your work? I especially like writing our calendars, so when the opportunity arises, I plug in my iPod and start searching for fun and quirky facts and tips to ll up the grids. We create special calendars every year — some full of astronomy facts, some with recipes and food facts, and some for gardeners. But what I enjoy most about my work is interacting with my colleagues. I am constantly learning from them and they help me be better at my job. Tell our readers something really cool about your work that most people don’t know. We don’t just read, write and research — we also get to test recipes every year for our two annual recipe contests! I love to cook and bake, so testing the recipes is something I look forward to. We make and taste the recipes that are entered and then vote on the winners. That’s not typical of a job in publishing! Where can people find out more about the Old Farmer’s Almanac? To learn about e Old Farmer’s Almanac, you can visit Almanac.com, and of course pick up a copy! They are found everywhere books and magazines are sold. There are many almanacs out there, but only one Old Farmer’s Almanac — look for the yellow cover with Benjamin Franklin’s face on it.
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