Forces of Change

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Patricia Menchaca

Patricia Menchaca

Graduate Student
University of Califonia, Riverside

Meet a soil detective! Patricia Menchaca is creating a soil database that will help investigators solve crimes.

How can a soil database help catch criminals?

Investigators can match soil found on a murder suspect to a location. That soil evidence can place the suspect at the scene of a crime or locate a crime victim.

What were your favorite toys when you were a kid?

My mom gave me dolls, but I loved playing with dump trucks. I spent hours moving around dirt, rocks, and water. Now I hose down the back yard and make mud pies with my kids.

How did your love of soil motivate you?

My parents were from Mexico and neither of them had more than a first grade education. My family survived on a very low income. My love of soil inspired me to get through college, where I studied geology, and then graduate school, where I studied soils.