Who said field trips ended after graduation from high school?? To be honest, I often miss those fairly frequent class trips to Broadway musicals or art museums in Manhattan. As fun as those were, it’s time to leave those times in the past tucked away favorably in my memory and embrace the present! Here at USC I have the opportunity to visit and tour places that are more relevant and applicable to my major and interests. As beautiful as USC’s campus is, it’s so refreshing to drive away for the day to see other areas of Southern California! Just this semester I’ve been to three different places off campus.

The first place was Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Facility in El Segundo, CA. This was through my ENE 400: Environmental Engineering Principles class. We left campus bright and early at 8am on a Friday morning, and the students and I took a bus to the plant. Our professor cracked some jokes on the ride there, and even bought donuts for us! I must say I have quite the sweet tooth when it comes to pastries.

For the past two years, in my civil and environmental engineering classes, I’ve learned a lot about water reclamation and wastewater treatment design. In fact I could probably recite to you now the whole process, from sewage to perfectly potable water! While it was a pretty stinky tour (I’m sure you can imagine what it smelled like!) it was pretty cool to be on site and see the huge tanks that I’ve learned about in my classes. While working at a wastewater treatment plant isn’t the only career option for an environmental engineer, it was still nice to explore my options and see whether this is a future I could see myself pursuing.

The second place I went to was Cabrillo Beach! This was for my group’s final project in the same class, ENE 400. Since the Port of Los Angeles is such a busy and hustling port, we wanted to study the environmental and ecological effects that shipping and oil spills had on nearby beaches. One of the most affected neighboring beaches is Cabrillo Beach; you can tell by the bottom picture how dirty the sand is from oil and pollution!

My friends and I also had a little fun and took some goofy pictures while we were there. In the photo on the left is me striking a funny pose, and on the right you can see my friends Dana and Lauren!

Most recently, I got to take a field trip to the Mojave Desert with my GEOL 305: Intro to Engineering Geology class! We made many stops throughout the day, first to a sedimentary layered rock formation, then to an aqueduct that supplies a good amount of the water for SoCal from NorCal for the State Water Project, saw the site of St. Francis Dam which failed two years after its construction in 1928, and then finally to a place along the San Andreas Fault. There’s me in the picture touching the place where the North American and Pacific Plate meet up (my professor knew someone who walked the whole length of the fault himself, and he indeed found this to be the only place exposed where you could actually see/touch it yourself!). How cool is that??