Career Profile: Al Trujillo

Palomar Community College

Palomar Community College is a two-year college.

Al Trujillo
is one of the leaders of the 2008 Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences Workshop. Prior to the workshop, we asked each of the leaders to describe their careers, for the benefit of workshop participants, by answering the questions below.

Click on a topic to read Al Trujillo's answer to an individual question, or scroll down to read the entire profile: Educational background and career path * Current job responsibilities * Best part of the job * Challenges and strategies * Qualifications * Balancing work and life * Advice

Briefly describe your educational background and career path.

B.S. Geology, UC Davis
M.S. Geology, Northern Arizona University
Worked in industry for 5 years
18 years teaching experience

Briefly describe your current job responsibilities, perhaps by describing a typical day, week, or semester.

My contract load is teaching 5 sections of oceanography lecture and oceanography lab. I have the opportunity to teach overload in geology, geography, and earth science. Combined with office hours, it keeps me busy.

What do you like best about your work?

Teaching is one of the greatest professions. Among many things, I enjoy the interaction with students, bringing in the lastest scientific discoveries, working with colleagues, and leading field trips. I mean, what other profession is there that when you say something, people actually write it down!?

What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What strategies have you developed for tackling that challenge?

As an oceanography textbook author, I have a hard time balancing my writing/research with my teaching load. I have the ability to flex my schedule from semester to semester, so that helps.

What qualifications do you think made you competitive in your job search(es)?

Teaching and industry experience
Willingness to teach oceanography
Computer applications
Excellent communication skills

Many of the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in these workshops are interested in balancing a family and career, in dual career couple issues, and in how other personal choices affect the search for a fulfilling career. Please share information about your situation, your ideas and experiences.

What advice do you have for graduate students or post-docs preparing for academic careers in geoscience? What do you know now that you wish you had known as you started your career?

Oh, there are so many little things. I would say the biggest thing is to evaluate the department carefully in terms of how you'd fit in with other colleagues before you accept a job.