Trinda Bedrossian ’69 captures 165 years of California’s geological history
Following the 150-year anniversary of the California Geological Survey (CGS), Trinda Bedrossian ’69, a geology major at The College of Wooster, felt inspired to highlight the organization’s long history. The California Geological Survey: A History of California’s State Geological Surveys, 1850-2015, a 660-page book, documents 165 years of the organization’s explorations and major historical events. The book is split into four time periods based on California’s legislative priorities at the time, for instance, the shift from mining and geology in the mid-1900s to a focus on geological hazards and environmental concerns in the 1970s.
Bedrossian hopes that this book “will illustrate how the work of CGS laid the foundation for future geologic work throughout the state and in other parts of the nation.” She also hopes it will demonstrate how geologists play a fundamental role in identifying environmental concerns. Bedrossian served as the first female supervising geologist at CGS, conducting geologic field reviews for erosion control, earthquake, and mineral hazards. As a woman in the field beginning in the 1970s, she often experienced discrimination, and she learned “it is crucial to be prepared to present well-reasoned data supporting your recommendations, know your own limitations, learn from your mistakes, and never allow yourself to be intimidated.”
Many of the skills Bedrossian needed as a geologist throughout her career came from her experiences at Wooster. She credits Independent Study for helping evolve her writing and research skills. The I.S. process “helped me develop the skill of being able to look at the big picture, extract important details, synthesize key data, and summarize complex geological concepts into a format easily understood by the educated layperson,” she said. Processing extensive data and research was a fundamental aspect of writing the work including studying obituaries, newsletters, State Mining and Geology Board and California State Library records, websites, and interviews. Bedrossian emphasized that overall, “being a student at Wooster taught me perseverance.”
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