Georgia Seyfried recently joined the College of Forestry as an Assistant Professor of Belowground Forest Ecology in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management.

She grew up with two super soil nerds so her path to soil biogeochemistry was not necessarily intentional (what could be more boring than DIRT, she jokes!). However, she always loved getting her hands dirty – with actual dirt and with arts and crafts. Naturally, this led Georgia to a crossroads in college – artist or scientist?? She says, “It’s funny how these decisions get made – I took a horrible ancient art history class and a slightly less horrible chemistry class my freshman year and turned towards science. I never really looked back and have since realized that art and science worlds are not so far apart!”

She did a general biology degree in college and gained a few cool experiences in research, but wasn’t necessarily sure she could see myself in that position – she was ready for adventure! Her mom’s family is scattered all over Australia, allowing her to bump around the country and find friendly faces (and free housing) along the way. She did all kinds of things: WOOF’ed, backpacked, worked as a secretary for an optometrist, found breathtaking beauty and genuinely hoped to encounter that ‘moment of clarity’ you see in the movies (oops, it never happened!). Eventually, she made her way back home to Idaho, found a job as a waitress and was suddenly very motivated to head back to school!

“I wanted to study somewhere ‘cool’ and I was halfway successful – I found myself at a university in central Illinois (very uncool), but had the wonderful opportunity to conduct my fieldwork in the mountains of Western Panama (very cool),” she says. During her time in graduate school, she studied the effects of mycorrhizal fungi on soil biogeochemical processes, beginning a fascination with “zooming in” to the micro scale. Eager to continue learning about soil chemical and biological processes in a different context, she headed to coastal South Carolina for a postdoc working with a landscape scale thinker. This was sweaty and buggy, but ultimately, she learned a lot about gas fluxes and significantly improved her beach volleyball game!

Georgia says she feels absolutely honored to be here at Oregon State University and is excited to continue her wandering scientific journey amongst so many amazing people! She is thrilled to live somewhere with hills again. In her spare time, she loves to rock climb, ski, wander around in the woods, and paint or craft. She is shamefully entertained by almost any reality TV show but will only admit to watching Survivor and the Great British Baking Show. She’s addicted to bubbly water and chocolate chips. Fun facts: her middle name is Storm (she says she is still trying to live up to it!) and she ties her shoelaces in a really cool way!

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