Sophie Pierce, Hydrogeologist

What are your responsibilities with the IGS?

I serve as a hydrogeology research assistant. I collect and analyze soil and water samples and data and assist with many other field and lab activities.

What are your research/project interests?

Projects I work on analyze the efficacy of different solutions to Iowa’s water-quality and -quantity challenges.

What is your academic and professional background?

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science in 2014. While completing my degree, I interned at the City of Iowa City as a stormwater assistant and at the USGS as a field hydrology trainee. After graduating, I worked as a hydrologic technician at USGS, doing field science in water quality and quantity. I started with IGS in 2019.

At about what age and why did you decide to become a geologist/scientist?

I grew up obsessed with nature camp and field trips, idolizing the naturalist at my local conservation department in Story County. The seed may have been planted then, but years later as a former International Studies  major, I took Intro to Environmental Science, and things kind of clicked for me. Changing my major was reinvigorating, as I gained technical skills and experience as a scientist and figured out what I want in a career.

What field activity is your favorite?

I enjoy the initial visit to a site when I get to collaborate with and learn from my coworkers and get the lay of the land. IGS has a wealth of knowledge, and I like the immersive experience of beings hand-on during site visits.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy gardening, cooking, and hiking. Spending time outdoors with family and friends is most important to me.

Professional headshot of a young woman in a black top

How can your research in your areas of interest improve the quality of life in Iowa?

“Water-quality improvement and conservation have great benefits for public and economic health in Iowa.”—Sophie Pierce