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Audrey TrotmanCooperative Science Centers, Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions, NOAA Office of Education
Dr. Audrey Trotman's glass is always at least half full. New to NOAA's Office of Education--she joined the program on June 7, 2010-she has a passion for learning. It is this fervor that has driven her career choices. It has also served her well as she has developed her role in our office. With an educational background in science - she has a PhD in Soil Microbiology-she considers herself a pragmatist. Her research has always focused on achieving practical goals. Twenty years ago, when Dr. Trotman joined the faculty at Tuskegee University, she began working on the science of sustainability, researching the biodegradation of crop waste. This effort required an interdisciplinary approach; students and faculty from Tuskegee worked with their counterparts at other colleges, including engineering majors from Auburn University, to fabricate the needed technology, whether chemical, electrical or mechanical in nature. "We were building from scratch, so we needed help in actually crea ting the system," said Dr. Trotman. While advising college students and overseeing research, she realized that the future of successful scientific research demanded that more students consider science as a career. She liked the cooperative work and discovered that involvement in science education wasn't a far cry from applied science research. "Regardless of what you were trying to do it requires seeking and learning. You have a hypothesis, you test it, you get results and you learn something new. It's a continual process. I don't see leaving the [laboratory] bench and being in an administrative role as being a great divide. It's just different pieces of the same problem."
Finding that she thrived on the collaborative process, Dr. Trotman soon stepped into a "shared faculty" role, where the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid for part of her time at Tuskegee. That meant that she was called upon to come to Washington, DC on occasion, to participate in reviews of their education programs, part of a USDA process of improvement. In 2004, when USDA had an opening, she moved to Washington, DC, full-time, trading a 120 mile driving commute for a car-free life in the city.
She is currently serving as the federal Program Manager for the EPP Cooperative Science Centers. The philosophy that guides her every day is a belief that, "Everyone wants to do a good job and if we pull together as a team, we provide the greatest benefit possible to NOAA and to the public."
Last Updated: 3/9/2011
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