Cassia Armstrong named Trinity Artist of the Week

Cassia sizing up the red rock - Arches National Park, 2015

Cassia sizing up the red rock – Arches National Park, Utah 2015

We here in the ENVS Program have always known that Cassia is an amazing student, researcher, softball player, and videographer (for her video of our Utah field trip click here, her video on Trinity’s summer research program is here), bit now it’s official: The Trinity Tripod, a highly respected publication in the field, named Cassia Trinity Artist of the Week. We would have named her Trinity Artist of the Month, but, hey, it’s a start.

You can read the Tripod article here. Do I have anything to add to it? hell, yeah: Cassia is not only a “science major” – she’s an ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE and CHEMISTRY major! Those junior reporters – never get the details straight…

Cassia at Newspaper Rock - Utah 2015

Cassia at Newspaper Rock – Utah 2015

Alumni News – Brittney Payton (’12)

Brittney paytonIt’s been over six years since I graduated from dear old Trinity, and I’ve been lucky enough to find some pretty interesting work.  I spent a year teaching Biology, Earth and Environmental Science, and Physical Science at John A. Holmes High School (where more often than not I was mistaken for a student) and really enjoyed helping others explore science and technology.  I remember pulling up photos from Geology field trips with Trinity’s Environmental Science Program, as well as using some of my old textbooks to create material for my classes.

After teaching for that year, I realized that I wanted to get back into a more hands-on type profession and applied for and accepted a position as a Laboratory Assessor I at AASHTO re:source (formerly AASHTO Materials Reference Laboratory).  As a Laboratory Assessor I, I was able to travel throughout the US to evaluate the compliance of construction materials testing laboratories against national standards of testing.  Scopes of testing covered include soil, aggregate, hot mix asphalt, iron and steel, and plastic pipe.  I finally got to see Shelby tubes again!  I was essentially a laboratory inspector (fear my wrath! But not really) and inspecting was the name of the game.

I got to visit some pretty cool places as an Assessor with my favorite being Phoenix, Arizona and my least favorite being Lubbock, Texas.  Some of my work trips were exciting and others about as exciting as watching tumbleweeds blow across the road (which I did see).  Once, I was confined to my hotel in Dallas, Texas when they got a little snow (and subsequently shut everything down), and another time, I drove through flooded areas in Denver, CO (after pulling over and freaking out in the car) when they got a ton of rain.

I met a lot of interesting people as an Assessor and learned a lot more about soil (and aggregate and etc) than I ever imagined.  I also got to say that I watched people wash dirt for a living and when has that ever been something you could legitimately say and mean?

Just last January, I applied for and accepted a position as a Quality Analyst I at AASHTO re:source and I have traded in my traveling shoes for comfy desk slippers.  Now, instead of traveling to the laboratories and assessing them for conformance, I work with laboratories to resolve any issues that were noted during their assessments.  My customer service skills are on Level 3000 J.  I am constantly learning and adapting in my field as standards for testing and our understanding of those standards change.

I am grateful for all of the experiences I had at Trinity with such an awesome department.  I truly believe that the wonderful guidance and instruction (and the BBQs) really have helped me to succeed in my endeavors.  I hope to be able to visit soon!

Brittney Payton 2