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JJ&A’s Terry James Guest Speaker at Local High School: A Student’s Response

Staff at JJ&A enjoy engaging with local schools to promote environmental education, support teachers, and encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  Placer High School’s AP Environmental Science teacher, Dan Galloway, shared the following response from one of the students.

“Thursday’s guest speaker was Terry James, a small business owner of Jacobson James & Associates Inc.  He is a geologist and environmental scientist that works to restore, protect, and manage the environment. At his job, he states to be an environmental consultant: a multidisciplinary field full of geology, biology, physics, engineering, and more. Terry James helps to maintain cleaner drinking water and ground water. One case study he had been working on from the 1940’s to 1970’s was called Mountain Dew. In a small northern CA town, water had been polluted into a green mountain dew color from overflowed contaminants and toxins. At the time, it was legal to dump wastes into ponds as a way to get rid of it. However, it is extremely unhealthy and contaminated the ground water that people drink. Terry James was called to clean this water by digging out all the waste and hauling it to a safe environment where it can’t do any more damage. Currently, he is doing a similar project in Sacramento in an attempt to turn it into a bike path and recreational park. This job is very similar to what we are learning in class; he conducts a lot of experiments, investigations, and theories for finding contaminants like hexavalent chromium, creating trenches, etc. He mentioned that there are classes in which we define waste, as well as steps to Phase I ESA. Terry James’ job seems to be interesting, as he said he has the freedom to make a difference. There are many opportunities to travel, be in the environment, and experience something new in each project like new technology or challenges. From what I have heard, he mainly works to clean water supply, etc in his business. Though I would consider a similar career, I still am not sure what specifically I would like to do. I am interested in taking care of the environment. I may specialize in medicine/health, controlling air pollutants in the atmosphere and space, or innovating methods and products that will help make Earth greener. I am hoping to find what career path I would like to take from listening to other guest speakers.”