Cassandra Brooks is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She has worked in marine science, environmental governance and public outreach for twenty years, with the last 13 years largely centered on the remote reaches of Antarctica. Cassandra’s research stems from her drive to find solutions to our most pressing environmental problems and in working at the intersection of science, policy and the public to help inform decision-making.
Prior to joining CU Boulder, she completed a PhD with Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources studying international ocean policy, with a focus on marine protection in the Antarctic. Her research and outreach during the last dozen years helped drive the adoption of the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea, Antarctica – one of healthiest and most productive marine ecosystems left on Earth.
Cassandra has worked in the lab, underwater, and at sea – including five research cruises to Antarctica – and has presented her work at conferences, workshops, and to policy-makers nationally and internationally, while publishing in peer reviewed journals, including Science and Nature. She’s toiled as a federal fisheries observer on New England groundfish boats and spent a number of years devoted to wilderness therapy and environmental education throughout the United States. Over the years, she’s also worked in traditional ecological knowledge - from uncovering the details of the first documented dam protest in New England to investigating the precolonial cod fishery history. During her Master's work at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, she studied life history of Antarctic toothfish, one of two species known as “Chilean sea bass.” The Ross Sea population she investigated supports the most remote fishery on Earth.
To gain expertise in communicating science to the public, Cassandra completed a Graduate Certificate in Science Communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. As a science writer and multi-media producer, she’s published more than 150 articles and multi-media pieces about marine science, the environment and human well-being, including for National Geographic, Seattle Times, and Science. In the past, she’s also worked with grand scale media conservation projects like the Last Ocean and the Ocean Voice while writing policy reports to identify important areas for marine protection in the Antarctic and elsewhere. Most recently, she contributes to the National Geographic Ocean Views blog. She has also worked as a science advisor for international conservation organizations, like the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. Her work and media has been featured in the popular press across the world, including by CNN, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post. In 2015, she was awarded a Switzer Fellowship in Environmental Leadership.