Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Dr. Nathan Kirk Oral History Interview, February 21, 2017

Oregon State University
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00:00:10 - Growing up in upstate New York

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Partial Transcript: What was it like growing up on the East Coast, New York area?

Segment Synopsis: Kirk shares that he was born in Albany, New York, however, he grew up in a small town of about one hundred people that was located 35 miles away. He shares that he spent a lot of time out in the woods, making forts with his brother and a distance neighbor kid. He shares that his mother stayed at home, and his dad was a high school science teacher. He shares that he always had a great interest in science and nature.

Keywords: Albany; Father; Introvert; Math; Mother; New York; Science; Teacher; Woods

00:06:49 - Interests in Biology and teaching

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Partial Transcript: On the research, marine ecology side how did you get involved in that?

Segment Synopsis: Kirk discusses how he first became really interested in marine ecology. He shares that growing up landlocked, he didn't really have to much of an interest in the ocean until he got into college. Kirk shares that his initial plan was to be an environmental lawyer, however, his one law related class was a huge bore to him. He shares that as a sophomore he took a class called tropical ecology that had a mandatory two week long trip in the Bahamas. Kirk shares a little bit about his research project that he completed in that class and how it cemented his interest in the subject. Kirk discusses the teaching that he did while in graduate school, and some of the teaching he had the opportunity to do in undergrad as well.

Keywords: Biology; College Courses; Conch; DNA; Ecology; Environment; Intrests; Law; Molecular work; Research; Teaching; Tropical Ecology; the Bahamas

00:13:40 - College years/memories of beer

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Partial Transcript: Kind of going back, to the University of Buffalo, how did you end up going there and what was your experience like there?

Segment Synopsis: Kirk describes his choice to go to school in New York at a state school, he shares that it was mainly because of the costs and also it was not a bad school. He shares that his father got him a home brewing kit when he turned eighteen. He discusses how he made some beer with roommates, and he said it worked, but it was not really worth the effort. He shares that he didn't start brewing until he was working on his doctorate. He tells that he and his friends would buy entire pounds of beer at a time, and he says looking back he can't believe he would drink cheap light beer.

Keywords: Amber; Beer; Beer Culture; Fruit beer; Genesee Beer; Homebrew; Kirkland; Local Government; Money; New York State; Oregon State Univeristy; Research; Tuition; University of Buffalo

00:20:39 - Beer/Alcohol culture in the South

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Partial Transcript: So do you think your appreciation has improved because you have made it yourself, so you understand the process, or because you have had more beer that is more artisanal?

Segment Synopsis: Krik shares that his beer tastes have grown over time because of his home brewing experiences, and also his refined tastes over the year. He shares that he really appreciates the time that brewing takes and the amount of care that goes into creating beer. He shares that craft beer in the eastern United States was not as popular as on the West Coast. Kirk discusses some of the alcohol laws in the South, and the general culture behind alcohol in the South. He shares about the city of Auburn in Alabama and the politics there.

Keywords: Alabama; East Coast; Mississippi; artisan; goverment; spirits; warm beer counties

00:28:37 - Getting into home brewing in grad school

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Partial Transcript: Why did you decide to go to Auburn University, and what was it like living there as opposed to your home state?

Segment Synopsis: Krik talks about his decision to go to school at Auburn University. He shares about the culture differences in the South compared to New York State. He tells that he met his wife while at Auburn, and she goes to Oregon State now. He talks about home brewing, and how it was an escape and hobby for him and his friends. He shares how he and his friends would have to drive over to Georgia anytime they needed to purchase new home brewing supplies. He discusses how he still has ties with a lot of his friends from Alabama because of their home brewing connections.

Keywords: Culture; Friends; Georgia; Homebrewing; Outside; Research; Sciene; Wife

00:36:03 - Experience home brewing

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Partial Transcript: Do you feel like its an important professional skill?

Segment Synopsis: Kirk discusses that many scientists he has met also home brew, and he discusses how drinking is a part of professional life and is how people can connect outside of the work place. Kirk tells about some of the beers he has created and which ones in particular he was proud of, and how it can be easy to google and find new recipes. He shares that him and his wife occasionally brewed together, but not all the time.

Keywords: drinking; fruit beer; professional development; recipes; tolerance

00:42:16 - Family life/Types of hops

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Partial Transcript: In terms of being a researcher and an educator, how have your priorities changed since you have had a kid?

Segment Synopsis: Kirk shares that before he had a son, he spent a lot of extra time at work. As a father, he requires himself to be more dedicated to his family. Kirk discusses some of his son's favorite things, he tells that he loves to be outside. He talks about the garden that him and his family are building in their new backyard. Krik discusses hops, and the different types he prefers or likes.

Keywords: Balance; Childern; Compost; Fruits; Garden; Hops; Outdoors; Trees; Work

00:52:02 - Being a teacher

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Partial Transcript: Kind of transition back to the science of things, you come here for post doc, after finishing your PhD?

Segment Synopsis: Krik shares that he came to Corvallis primarily because his wife got into a PhD program, and shares that he got lucky and landed a post-doc here. He shares that he hasn't become to much a part of the community yet, but shares that he really enjoys his departmental community. He shares how sometimes there can be some bad blood in departments at universities, but says that OSU does not really have that, and he really appreciates it. He shares that he does not have the same home brewing connections that he has had in the past. Additionally, he discusses the transition from being a student to being an instructor. He shares some of his favorite things about being a teacher at Oregon State University.

Keywords: Community; Corvallis; Hatfield Marine Science Center; Oregon State University; PhD programs; homebrewing; teaching

01:00:40 - Concluding thoughts

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Partial Transcript: Last question before we let you go, do you have any conclusions or any take away messages?

Segment Synopsis: Krik shares that everyone should do what they like, and then try to be the best at what they like. He says that the PhD market is very over saturated and is lucky to have the job he does. He shares that it is important to work hard and pursue things that are interesting to you.

Keywords: Hard work; Interests; Values