Geothermal Geology Technician, Daniel Dores: A Day in the GeoLife Series

Daniel DoresNAME: Daniel Dores
CURRENT TITLE: Geothermal Geology Technician
AREA OF EXPERTISE: Environmental geochemistry, hydrology, renewable energy
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Geology at the College of William and Mary, with Environmental Science and Policy Minor.
Masters of Science in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
TWITTER NAME: @RootsandRocks

What’s your job like?
I work for the Hawai‘i Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center. We’re a research group nested within the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Our projects – both big and small – support the exploration and monitoring of Hawai‘i’s groundwater and geothermal resources. The research we do involves a mix of fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and a good deal of data analysis back in the office. We also get to partner with a wide variety of groups around the state with interests or research goals similar to our own.

Daniel DoresWhat’s a typical day like?
A typical day in the office usually involves some sort of technical writing, data analysis, and group meetings on collaborative projects. While each team member has their own project or series of projects on which they’re working, we like to work together as much as possible and get multiple researchers involved in a project. Between grant proposals, technical reports, and journal papers, we’re usually always in the midst of writing up some of our most recent results. During field campaigns, our days look very different. Most of our fieldwork is here in the state, although we do travel to the different islands. Our work includes geophysical surveys, groundwater sampling, rainfall collection, and even deep groundwater well drilling.

What’s fun?
The fun part of this job is getting to work on real projects that will have a lasting impact on Hawai‘i’s environment. We’re working to answer some of the biggest environmental questions the state is facing today related to its freshwater resources and energy production. Being a part of these solutions for Hawai‘i allows us to meet a lot of interesting people and have some really important discussions. And, when it comes to doing fieldwork, it’s hard to find a better location than Hawai‘i!

Daniel Dores collecting data out in the field

What’s challenging?
The most challenging part of this job is balancing our project workload, although time management is hardly a challenge unique to the earth sciences. What makes work in a research-based organization so tricky is balancing your current projects with the pursuit of new and innovative topics for the next phase of work for the team.

What’s your advice to students?
My advice to students is to be open to new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to take charge of the direction in which you want your career to move. There are so many programs out there that students and young professionals can use to their advantage. Undergraduate and graduate studies present a great window of time for you to learn new things, try different positions, and learn what excites you the most. Once you find the direction that interests you, make the most of exploring those avenues and pursuing that opportunity.

“Geothermal Geology Technician, Daniel Dores @RootsandRocks: A Day in the GeoLife Series”
September 5, 2020, Sandie Will, Rock-Head Sciences