Katherine Powell

Ph.D. Student

Contact Information


Secondary Core Area


MS, University of South Florida

BS, University of South Florida


Katherine is from Florida originally, where her first profession was as a software developer and consultant. The earlier part of her life included traveling worldwide, scuba diving in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, and earning a private pilot’s license.

After returning to school to pursue a career in science, she earned a bachelor of science in geology and a master of science in hydrogeology/ecohydrology from the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. Her research involved using soils to determine how groundwater pumping impacted the health of cypress wetlands. 

Currently she is 3+ years into the Environmental Studies PhD program, with a dual appointment at the US Geological Survey in Denver. She is researching how soil respiration is impacted by extreme hydrological events at a 2 semi-arid ecosystems - a grassland site and a montane forest site. One of her research sites is at Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge just south of Boulder, the former weapons component plant and a US EPA Superfund site!

She loves teaching! She has been teaching throughout her graduate studies and have a lot of experience. Back in Florida, she was a TA for both sedimentology and hydrology courses, conducting labs and field trips. Here at CU, she has taught Ecology labs and the Environmental Studies recitation.

Colorado winters have been challenging for her, but she is starting to get the hang of it. She has Yaktrax for her shoes, snow tires on her car, and has hiked to her field sites in -10F, over 2 feet of snow, and in gale force winds!