Editor’s note: You’re Majoring in What? is a new Aggie column that features students of UC Davis’ lesser-known majors.
Alicia Berg is a fourth-year hydrology major from San Pedro, Calif.
What is hydrology?
Hydrology is the study of water in all aspects. This includes the physical, biological and chemical elements of water and its distribution around the planet.
Why did you choose it as your major? Is it something you’ve always wanted to study?
When I was in high school I traveled to Kenya many times. I saw firsthand how people regarded water. It is the ultimate life source and is beyond precious. I was raised in LA and my personal water supply was never an issue that I had to deal with. Once I became aware of the value of water, it was like a switch I couldn’t turn off. After that I knew what I wanted to study, and I actively pursued it.
There are different concentrations in hydrology. What is yours?
I focus on surface water and especially aquatic systems, like wetlands.
What jobs can you get with hydrology? What do you plan to do?
You can get a variety of jobs because everywhere in the world needs to manage their water sources. I plan on working with restoration and conservation projects either through the state or nonprofit organizations. I also hope to be involved with the education process of water awareness for youth and communities.
Are there any hydrology classes you’d recommend to students who are considering this major?
HYD 10: Water, Power, Society is a really good introduction course to the history of water in California (which is incredibly complicated and fascinating) and general water processes. Also, HYD 143 is a course on eco-hydrology that incorporates many facets of hydrology and gives a good basis of Excel models for studying hydrologic data.
How big or small are the classes?
The classes are small. I’ve had classes as small as seven people and as big as 40.
What’s the best part about majoring in hydrology?
It is a science that reaches into many disciplines and gives a solid education base that can be used to further specialize in the field. It is also a tight-knit community, and the students are friendly and helpful to one another. I have learned an incredible amount about my environment, politics, mathematical models and technical science.
Are there any downsides?
It is definitely a challenging major. All of the prerequisites are the same as the ones for engineers. Many of the courses can be overwhelming at times, but the reward of success is beyond worth it.
MUNA SUDEK can be reached at email@example.com.