Arvind Bhuta, Forester (Biometrician)

Arvind Bhuta, Forester
Arvind Bhuta, Forester

I‘m a first generation Asian-American of Filipino-Indian (subcontinental) descent who until recently lived almost all of my life south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Growing up in Alabama, my parents expected that I would study hard to become a medical doctor; however, I had different career goals. During my junior year in college (after being undeclared and then an industrial design major), I took a course called Natural History of Vertebrates. The lab/field portion of that course got me hooked on ecology. While keeping their medical school hopes alive, I told my parents that I was majoring in zoology; however, I continued down the ecology track, eventually graduating with a Zoology degree and an interest in terrestrial vertebrate ecology from Auburn University.

After graduation, I held multiple biological technician positions and used Geographic Information System (GIS) in those positions. Eventually, I found out more about Geography through GIS and got a dual Geography and Environmental Science degree at Auburn University so I could further my graduate school education in Geography. I pursued my graduate research interests and studies in biogeography, forest ecology, dendrochronology, GIS, and remote sensing at Virginia Tech. During my graduate studies, I also interned at the US EPA and the US Army Corp of Engineers. After graduating with my MS in Geography and my PhD in Geospatial and Environmental Analysis, I moved on to Clemson University’s Department of Forestry for a postdoctoral fellowship with the Silviculture and Ecology Lab.

After about two years in Clemson, SC, I moved to Washington DC and while I was waiting to begin a position as a 1-year visiting scientist with a Federal Agency through Oak Ridge Associated Universities, I started my own geospatial and dendrochronology consulting company. I saw my current position posted on USA jobs and applied, interviewed for, and accepted it, which gave me an opportunity to work for one of my dream agencies, the US Forest Service. I left the southeast in the fall of 2014 and moved to the Pacific Northwest to start my first permanent federal position as a Forester (Biometrician) with the Regional Biometrics Program in Natural Resources at the Regional Office in Portland. I work under the Regional Biometrician and with the Program’s team we collect, manage, and analyze forest inventory and monitoring data. I also assist with statistical queries that the National Forests or the public may have and provide support for any geospatial or remote sensing analysis or mapping needs for the Program.

I really enjoy my job because it meshes well with my background in Geography, giving me the opportunity to see the multifaceted and all-inclusive work we do at the local, regional, and national levels. I live in Portland with my wife, who I met in graduate school. As a pair of nerdy geographers, my wife and I are also occasional benchmark-hunters. I am somewhat of a foodie, sci-fi geek, and techie and I enjoy playing racquetball and squash.

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