Chap Grad Works to Improve Soil Health

Chap Grad Works to Improve Soil Health
Posted on 04/11/2024

Tad Trimarco graduated from Chaparral High School in 2017 and attended Colorado State University (CSU). He’s now in his third year of a Ph.D. program at CSU, researching improving soil health and water quality in Colorado's agricultural land.

“I get to work with an awesome group of farmers, researchers, policy-makers, and educators, and everyone is passionate about conservation in agriculture,” said Tad.

“I'm proud of the work I've achieved in my graduate studies. It was an adjustment to immerse myself in the ag world and science, but I think I've been successful in making myself at home. I've been lucky enough to present my science to fellow researchers, farmers, and industry specialists, and even won some awards for presenting, which was an honor. I love the work I do and I'm glad I get to work in a field that's rewarding and can have a positive impact,” he said.
Earlier this school year Tad shared his expertise with the students in the Roots & Shoots class at Sage Canyon Elementary.

Thinking about high school brings back positive memories and Tad credits his years in sports to his strong focus on his work today.
“I believe my time on the cross country and track teams was formative to my work ethic and helped me to appreciate the process of learning and growing through repeated efforts. I think every student should participate in something where they have to start bad at something and slowly grind away and improve, and I had an amazing group of coaches who helped me learn that and made me the person I am today. I also have to shout out my high school chemistry teacher, Ms. Carroll, who made me fall in love with chemistry and science,” said Tad.

One thing Tad learned about himself in high school was that he’s a person who likes to immerse himself in a project and stew in it.
“I did that with cross country and track in high school, and that mindset is what helped me be successful in research later on. To do the type of research I do, you have to be willing just to immerse yourself deep in the science and to be patient over the years. I was lucky to have a group of high school coaches - Rob Ferguson, James Bateman, and Craig Bowman - who supported that mindset and gave me every opportunity to challenge myself. They pushed me to envision the end goal and stick with it,” he said.

Looking back, Tad says he thinks he took things a bit too seriously in high school.

“I always wanted to be successful at the very start of everything I did, and I didn't appreciate the process of learning and growing. My advice is to relax, appreciate the process, and be okay with failing. That took me a long time to learn, and I'm still learning it,” he said.
Tad tries to manage his time a bit better to give himself some creative space.

“It's easy to find yourself in a hole where you're just working nonstop and don't take time for yourself. It’s tough to slow down in graduate school. I'm looking forward to graduating and giving myself a break,” he said.

After he graduates, he’d like to continue doing research in environmental science, in either a government or non-profit role.
“I love the process of working through a research problem for months or years to address a real need. One of my passions is teaching. I was able to teach some soil labs in college and it felt like it clicked for me. Getting to combine my love for teaching and my love for soil science is the real long-term goal, so I'm looking forward to making that happen one day,” he said.

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