S. Mayson Blocker
Name: S. Mayson Blocker
Hometown: Oglethorpe County, Georgia
Major: Water and Soil Resources
In her own words ...
Where are you from, and why did you choose to study at UGA/CAES?
I was born in Travis County, Texas, but my family moved to Oglethorpe County, Georgia when I was just a year and a half old. As a child, my parents drove me through the University of Georgia (UGA) campus, and I was captivated by the greenery and plants. It still is a very beautiful campus. In grade school, many of the teachers I idolized went to UGA as well. These are the main factors that influenced my desire to attend UGA for my undergraduate degree.
What is your major/degree program, and what department?
My major is Water and Soil Resources in the department of Crop and Soil Science.
Why did you choose your major?
I spent most of my childhood running around in the woods, exploring creeks, and playing sports with my many siblings. I also worked in my Mother’s flower and vegetable gardens. These experiences ignited a deep passion for the environment in me at a young age. These fond memories from my childhood would not have been possible if the soil and water near my home had been heavily polluted. I believe that everyone deserves to have similar experiences if they so choose which is why I decided on Water and Soil Resources as my major. The quality of soil and water is very important in the lives of individuals around the world, and I am thankful to have been able to gain experience testing the quality of soil and water through my coursework thus far in my college career.
What is your favorite class you have taken?
My favorite class so far in my degree has been WASR(FORS) 4110, Forest Hydrology, taught by Dr. C. Rhett Jackson. I took this class in the spring of 2022, and I loved the lectures and labs every week. Even though the lectures were at eight o’clock in the morning, the material and Dr. Jackson’s teaching style were worth the early morning rush to campus.
Who has been your favorite instructor?
Dr. C. Rhett Jackson has been my favorite instructor so far because he is the kind of professor that teaches material in a way that will fundamentally stick with you. His teaching style is accessible for students with little background knowledge about hydrology. I switched majors from Biology to Water and Soil Resources in the fall of 2021, and he was the hydrology professor for CRSS (FANR) 3060, Soils and Hydrology. I had a small amount of background knowledge about hydrology going into the course, and he taught in a way that students like me would not be at a disadvantage. His passion for environmental issues is inspiring.
What has been the best experience you've had so far at the college?
Currently, I am an Education Intern at the Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Water Conservation Office (WCO), and it is my favorite experience outside of regular coursework that I have had so far during my undergraduate college experience. From teaching curious first graders a lesson about clouds to touring third graders around the J. G. Beacham Drinking Water Treatment Plant, I have gained immeasurable knowledge while teaching Athenians of all ages about water conservation. Other than teaching students, I have helped recruit ACC water customers for a focus group about the Drinking Water Quality Report, and am busy assembling welcome packets for new residents at apartments in the Athens area. These packets have valuable information in them about how water customers can best conserve water and protect water infrastructure systems in our area. In the coming weeks, I will be working on auditing Certified Blue restaurants and businesses in ACC to see if they are conserving water and using it efficently. I have also obtained valuable knowledge that I can use in my own life regarding water conservation. I am very grateful to the ACC WCO for allowing me to have this wonderful opportunity to learn and gain experience. A close second best experience would be one I had this past semester which was related to regular coursework in CRSS (WASR) 4660/6660, Hydrogeochemical Characterization of Environmental Field Sites. Two fellow Crop and Soil Science students, Kara Leverette and Johnathan Pulliam, and I worked on a term project together to see how infiltration rates varied at the UGA Land Application Site near the Whitehall Forest because of extended application of compost leachate. It was exciting to be able to work on a term project with fellow classmates about a topic that involved human impact on soil and water.
What do you want to do with what you have learned here?
With what I have learned at UGA, I would like to help preserve the integrity of soil and water in the world’s natural ecosystems. I also hope to continue my education as a graduate student at UGA after I finish my undergraduate degree.
How has your experience at UGA changed you?
My studies at UGA have changed me by showing me how intricately humanity impacts the world around us, be it the social world or the natural world.
Thinking of the word agriculture - what does agriculture mean to you? In what ways does agriculture impact your life and your culture?
Agriculture is the past, present, and future all at once. Without it, culture would not exist in the way we currently know it.
What do you like to do outside of class — hobbies, interests, secret talents?
I enjoy going on long walks with my dog, caring for my betta fish, taking cat naps with my cat, kayaking, writing, and I dabble in embroidery.