A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Crystal Trotter has worked in the scientific field for more than a decade. For nearly six years, she served as an environmental scientist with CTEH’s Toxicology Emergency Response Program (TERP). In 2013, she transitioned to her current role as the “right hand” of CTEH’s vice president, Cory Davis. Learn more about her career below:
What do your day-to-day responsibilities include?
I wear two different hats at CTEH. For the last four years, I’ve served as an assistant to our vice president, Cory Davis, who was my former TERP director. I also help CTEH with its contracts. I oversee and organize all facets of the contract process—from negotiation to execution. Every day at CTEH is busy and different, but I love what I do.
Tell us more about your work on the TERP team.
In December 2007, I joined CTEH as an environmental scientist with TERP. While on the team, I had the opportunity to work on emergency responses across North America. During my nearly six years with TERP, I gained valuable scientific training and on-the-ground experience. I was able to help with anything and everything—from industrial hygiene projects to environmental sampling.
You previously served as a chemist with a national waste management company. How does this experience benefit your current work?
As we’ve all learned in our science classes, every chemical has the ability to have some type of short or long-term effect. However, when I worked as a chemist in a laboratory, I was able to really see and understand these different chemical reactions. When I switched to my role as an environmental scientist, I had the necessary knowledge base to easily identify problematic amounts of chemicals. Because of my experience, I didn’t have to solely rely on information from other resources. I could use my own expertise and capabilities.
Why did you join CTEH?
I first learned about CTEH from the newspaper’s classifieds. I saw the environmental scientist job posting and thought it’d be a good fit because of my educational background and work experience. When I went in for my interview, I ran into one of my sister’s childhood friends and immediately knew it’d be a friendly work environment. A few weeks later, I started my job as an environmental scientist and, shortly thereafter, was traveling around the country to help with responses.
You have a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. What initially sparked your interest in science?
I initially wanted to be a dentist, but decided against it after my senior year of college. Upon graduation, one of my chemistry professors connected me with another alumnus. I found my chemist job and, later, happened upon the environmental scientist position at CTEH. While unexpected, CTEH has been a hidden treasure and blessing to me. I’ve been here almost 10 years because I enjoy what I do and truly believe in our company and its people.
Are you involved with any professional or community organizations?
Since 2003, I’ve been involved with Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority. I’ve been an active member of AKA’s graduate organization, where I serve as a chairperson of a committee. I also frequently participate in volunteer activities with CTEH such as participating in Crystal Hills Elementary School annual “Truck or Treat,” supporting Our House during the holidays and giving back to other local charities.
Have more questions for Crystal? Connect with her on LinkedIn.