Rock, Gravel, Sand

liz-graybillLike a finely tuned blast that breaks up valuable dolomite rock, so her experience at Lafayette awakened Liz Graybill ’10 to the field of geology.

Now, as mining geologist for Magnesita Quarry in York, Pa., she oversees every step of the production process from extraction, crushing, and sizing to analysis and screening.

“I was intrigued by the history of life on earth and studying outside in the field,” says Graybill, who went on to obtain a master’s in geology from Ohio University. “And now I am out in the quarry almost every day—sometimes examining the rocks, sometimes using a Trimble GPS unit to capture location data for the drill holes.”

Graybill oversees a crew of 10 miners. Her supervisor and mentor is geologist David Hopkins, resource mining operations manager. Graybill says she will be well-prepared to fill this role in a few years when Hopkins retires.

“The only aspect of the job that has been a challenge for me was coming into an industrial plant setting where 500 tons per hour of rock are processed through crushers, screeners, sorters. When I look back, I wish I had gotten more of an engineering background. But no amount of education can prepare you for every situation you will face on a job.”

Graybill graduated with a second major in art. “Studying art was a great balance for my scientific work, and though the two fields may seem unrelated, they actually go hand in hand. You have to do a lot of 3-D thinking in geology, which continually brings in the creative side.”

A member of the track and field team, Graybill competed in throw events such as hammer and discus. “When you have practice every day on top of classes and labs, you have to manage your time well. In the beginning, track was my motivation to keep up my grades, but later, it was geology. Keeping the balance of academics and athletics was never easy, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I hang my varsity letter in my house because I am darn proud of the four years I spent earning it.”

—Stevie O. Daniels