By Staff Reports
(Victorville)– Victor Valley College student Brent Velasquez is conducting groundbreaking research. Literally.
The 24-year-old recently landed a highly competitive and coveted job with the United States Geological Survey, for which he is participating in earthquake prediction and hydrology research.
“It’s hands-on science and hands-on work,” Velasquez said. “We have over 140 sites (where we collect data) across Southern California. Our office is managing all of that.”
Dr. Glenn Akers, an adjunct instructor of geology and oceanography at VVC, said he recommended Velasquez for the position of Hydrologist Specialist because he was one of the top students in his class.
“He is our first geology student in the history of the college to win such a position,” Akers said, adding that it was particularly noteworthy since he secured the job over students from geology departments at Cal States and UCs. “Brent Velasquez has tremendous interests in earthquake prediction research, but he is just getting his ‘foot in the door’ that may lead to different avenues with the USGS.”
Velasquez said the knowledge and skills he gained in Akers’ geology and oceanography classes have already helped him tremendously in the job, which in part requires him to survey water samples.
“When we visit sites, we use instruments to send back data — data on water, on chemistry, temperature, all that — and it sends that back to our computers at the office,” Velasquez said. “We measure a lot of the things I’ve learned about in class.”
A 2014 graduate of Summit Leadership Academy, Velasquez submitted transcripts, a cover letter, and recommendations to be considered by USGS.
“He’s already done this kind of work in class, so I know he’ll do well,” Akers said.
Soon after a panel interview, Velasquez was offered the position.
“I believe I asked them more questions than they asked me,” Velasquez said. “I asked them what separates them from other scientific communities in the U.S. and if there were opportunities for growth.”
He was assured that there indeed would be room for advancement. In the meantime, he is being trained on how to manage and recognize any errors in the water system through a computer system and making site visits to survey samples.
“The job is going great. I wanted to join because it’s really interesting,” he said. “It’s such a vast field with so many subjects — there’s hydrology, geology, astronomy — it’s just wide ranging.”
Velasquez said he’d like to thank all of the instructors he has had at VVC who encouraged him “to keep going.”
“I really appreciate what the school has done for me,” he said. “I owe a lot to the school and a lot to my family for supporting me.”