John Hammerly graduated in 2007 with his degree in Agronomy. He is now currently located in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he is the Soil Data Quality Specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Plant Division.
With his position, he serves as the Soil Survey Representative to an assigned area and he assures the technical quality of soil survey data. Tyler also coordinates the development and presentation of soil interpretations with the National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) and other technical soil scientists. He provides training and technical assistance to soil survey offices in all phases of soil survey for his assigned area.
Tyler participates in periodic technical field visits and progress reviews within his assigned area. He also assists other soil scientists with technical and administrative concerns and ensures that NCSS standards are met.
Tyler likes that he gets to help other soil scientists tackle complex problems by creating new ways to automate the archival and analysis of soil data, such as creating interactive web-based applications. He also gets to see unique landscapes and soils across the Midwest during field visits, progress reviews, and trainings. Tyler also enjoys that he gets to teach other soil scientists how to use new technologies for soil data collection mapping and analysis.
The Agronomy Department prepared Tyler for his roles by fostering an interest in soil through field trips, soil pits, team projects and competitions. He was provided meaningful guidance and instruction from advisors, professors, and teaching assistants, as well as being provided new technologies to him when he was a student. Tyler’s favorite memories include the many trips he took as a member of the soil judging team. The team traveled to Manhattan, Kansas, to the soils of the Konza Prairie, to the piedmont of Auburn, Alabama, to the Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and the Cache Valley of Logan, Utah.
“I also recall a time during an Agronomy 473 lecture, Dr. Jon Sandor was teaching about residuum parent materials. He had a chunk of grus (a form of highly weathered granite) and asked for a volunteer to demonstrate how weathered the grus was by breaking it apart. I volunteered, and after a great deal of effort, more than I expected, the grus exploded into tiny bits of sand and gravel. It was everywhere! With no way to clean up the mess I just created, the lecture continued, and the mess was left for the next class using the classroom. I can’t imagine what the next group to use the room thought of the mess we left!”
Tyler was involved with ISUCF”V”MB for four year, T.U.B.A.S for four years, Agronomy club for three years, soil judging team for three years, and he lived in the Godfrey House in Friley Residence hall for three years.
Advice for students: “Challenge yourself. Find your passion and push yourself to be your best. It’s easy to coast along and just get by. Do what is difficult, work hard. In return, you will accomplish great things.”