A former environmental science student works to restore groundwater quality

At Taylor, students passionate about caring for God’s creation and being good stewards of the earth can pursue a Environmental Sciences Major. This program integrates biology, chemistry, and geology, with environmental law, policy, economics, and ethics for an interdisciplinary understanding of the earth, stewardship, and sustainability.

After graduating in 2020, Benj Morris decided to pursue his passion for creation by taking care of drinking water in Ohio.

Delight in God’s creation and creativity

Morris loves everything about being outdoors, even the feel of the earth beneath his feet, which is why he doesn’t wear shoes, not even when riding his bike. “One of the reasons I still love being outdoors is because I grew up a Christian, so I always knew (it was) really cool to hang out like God gave us gifts,” he said. “God didn’t need to make it beautiful, we don’t need to have the Grand Canyon; it’s not necessary. But He chose to do it. I always thought it was really cool that he chose to make nature really complex and interconnected.

Morris knew he wanted to major in environmental science at Taylor, but he also had a creative gift for music, so he pursued a major in both. However, he ultimately had to choose one or the other and found his answer with his classes and environmental science teachers.

“I was taking geology classes in the spring with Dr. Guebert, and I fell in love with him,” Morris said. With Environmental Science, Morris was thrilled to learn more about God and his art through his creation. Morris also became president of the Stewards of Creation Club, served as a sustainability assistant at campus apartments, and worked as a geology teaching assistant for Dr. Guebert.

Morris was still able to develop his musical skills and share his passion with others in the Taylor Chorale and by becoming the part-time worship director at Mercy Baptist Church in Marion. Music allowed Morris to connect with a church and the local community.

“There are people in the real world who want to invest in you, to see you grow and push you,” Morris said. “The pastor and I met every two weeks. He would come to campus or I would go to his house, and we would meet and have lunch or coffee, and he would just disciple me. We were going through the scriptures, and he asked me questions and I asked him questions, and he held me responsible for certain things. It made me grow a lot.

Educating Business Owners on Contamination Prevention

Morris graduated at the height of Covid-19 restrictions, which made it difficult to get a job straight out of college. Through a connection he made through Professors Taylor Jan and Rob Reber, his instructors in his summer field course in the Black Hills, hWe were hired for an internship in South Dakota at a hatchery.

Morris working on his internship at the South Dakota Hatchery

However, after the restrictions started to be lifted, he quickly applied for government jobs, which is how he landed in Ohio as an Environmental Specialist II for the Environmental Protection Agency. the Ohio environment. He now specializes in groundwater remediation.

Currently, most of Morris’ work is done from home due to Covid-19 regulations, but he remains busy keeping businesses up to date with the code, checking for contamination leaks and cleaning up pollution spills. Surprisingly, most leaks come from small businesses that simply don’t know the proper procedures, so education is a big part of their job.

One of the serious situations Morris faced involved a laundromat that spilled chemicals into a storm sewer, instead of a drain that went to a water treatment plant. The chemicals went straight into a nearby ditch, which polluted the town’s water supply for two years.

In order to reverse polluted water, appropriate chemicals must be added to treat or neutralize the pollutant, but cleaning up groundwater can take years, which is why avoiding contamination is always the best course of action. simple.

Vocational and professional training in every class

As an environmental scientist, Morris has gained hands-on experience through labs each semester of his academic career, which has helped prepare him for the job he is in now.

“The Department of Environmental Science is so good at making sure you don’t just learn information,” Morris said, “Every class I took was specifically geared towards a function of a possible profession. we could have – every class was professional training. My whole degree was all about group projects and presentations, and that’s what all this work is about.”

Before going to Taylor, Morris knew he wanted a small school where he could get to know the teachers personally, so he put Taylor at the top of his list.

“Teachers aren’t just there to teach you, they want to see you succeed in your career, your life, and your faith. They are there to push you. So really, the best advice I would have for anyone considering studying environmental science at Taylor is to befriend these professors, because they are awesome.

Trust in God’s plan

Morris’ education, experiences and professional development at Taylor led him down a meandering path to what he now considers his dream job, and while he encountered challenges, he never nothing changed.

“Everything that’s happened in my life has brought me to where I am now,” Morris said.

If you want to learn more about the Environmental Science major and the hands-on training it offers, click here!

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