Art Classes Provide Foundation for Alex Trimm ’14’s Sustainability Career

By Katie Hanson ’25

Portrait of Scripps College alum Alex Trimm '14

Her cohort’s senior art show title perfectly encapsulates Alex Trimm ’14’s experience at Scripps: “Miscellaneous.” While she pursued an art degree, specializing in photography and sculpture, she found herself taking full advantage of the breadth of resources available at Scripps, from studying abroad in Florence to working at the Motley Coffeehouse to exploring museum gender equality through a Mellon Foundation Research Grant. Although it’s impossible to truly capture Trimm’s Scripps experience in one word, she says her biggest takeaway was learning how to think.

“Scripps taught me how to think critically, ask really good questions, and dive deeper,” Trimm says. “That’s everything that I do day-to-day in my career, so I think Scripps creates an incredible foundation.”

For Trimm, this foundation first formed in her art classes. Before entering college, she knew she wanted to study photography, but she discovered her passion for sculpture at Scripps. Her senior thesis combined the two mediums to explore the idea of “freezing a moment in time,” a project that earned her the Lucia Suffel Ceramics Award, an annual award presented to a ceramics student selected by Scripps art faculty.

Much of Trimm’s artwork was inspired by her minor, art history, and the works she explored in Florence during her junior year. Trimm practiced her Italian while exploring historic museums and sharpening her photography skills.

Thanks to her knowledge of art and museums, Trimm received a Mellon Foundation Research Grant to further study gender inequality in contemporary art. Her idea for the research proposal was sparked by her work as an intern at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, where she researched sculpture price data. There, she collaborated with sculptor Elizabeth Turk ’84, who encouraged her to research compensation for women in the contemporary art world. Turk also inspired Trimm to focus her senior thesis on sculpture.

Trimm used her Mellon funding to conduct additional research at Yale University and meet with Scripps alumnae in the New York art world to discuss the gender gap in museums. That same summer, she received the Bertha Anolic Visual Arts Israel Travel Award to study photography in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Now, as an optimization lead for Flashfood, an app that collaborates with grocery stores to reduce food waste, Trimm uses her visualization and communication skills to conduct data analysis. Analyzing the data composition of what grocery stores dispose of allows Trimm to encourage partner stores to post food near its “best by” date on Flashfood for a reduced price.

“I was drawn to an app that was sustainability focused, but could also be sold as a product,” Trimm says. “The fact is that over 30% of food in the US is thrown away while food insecurity continues to rise; if we could repurpose perfectly good food, we could keep it out of the landfill while helping a lot of people.”

Trimm emphasizes that many of the skills she uses in her career relate back to the academic and artistic experiences she had while at Scripps.

“Majoring in art makes you think out of the box,” she explains. “I’m always trying to approach problems in creative ways. I think you can use art majors, art history majors, any liberal arts degree in ways that don’t have to directly apply to what you end up doing for work.”