Photo of Cassandra Brooks
Assistant Professor
Environmental Studies

Office: SEEC S106D

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 12-2pm

Students can sign-up online to meet with Cassandra (virtual or in-person)


Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)


  • PhD, Environment and Resources, Stanford University, 2017
  • Grad Cert., Science Communication, University of California Santa Cruz, 2009
  • M.S., Marine Science, Moss Landing Marine Labs, California State University,2008
  • B.S., Biology, Bates College, 2001

Research Interests

  • Antarctica
  • Environmental Governance
  • Marine Science
  • Natural Resource Conservation
  • Protected Areas


Cassandra Brooks is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She draws on a diversity of disciplines including marine science, environmental policy, and science communication to study and seek solutions to pressing environmental problems.

Prior to joining CU Boulder, she completed a PhD at Stanford University, studying international ocean policy, with a focus on marine protection in the Antarctic. In her previous graduate work at Moss Landing Marine Labs, she studied Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea, a population that supports the most remote fishery on Earth. She was also a core member of The Last Ocean, a grand-scale media project focused on the Ross Sea. Her efforts helped drive the adoption of the world’s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea, Antarctica – one of the healthiest and most productive marine ecosystems left on Earth. For this work, she was awarded a Switzer Fellowship in Environmental Leadership (2015), the Ronne Award for Antarctic Research or Exploration through the Society of Woman Geographers (2022), and the Explorer's Club 50 honor (2022). For her interdisciplinary engaged scholarship, she was awarded the Early Career Award from the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (2021). At the University of Colorado Boulder she has also received the Excellence in Service & Leadership Award (2023) and Graduate School Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award (2023).

In the last 20 years, Cassandra’s drive to understand and contribute to marine conservation has taken her to all seven continents, working in different capacities. This includes as a federal fisheries observer on New England groundfish boats, five research expeditions to Antarctica, experience as a science writer and media producer, and working as an Antarctic policy advisor for international conservation organizations in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Cassandra's research is currently funded by NASA, NSF, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Her current projects include those focused on: life history connectivity of Antarctic toothfish and Antarctic krill; the importance of Antarctic polynyas; research and monitoring in the Ross Sea region marine protected area;  ecosystem valuation of the Southern Ocean; climate change impacts on albatross; and the development of a representative system of protected areas in the Southern Ocean, including identifying Key Biodiversity Areas. She is also a member of many international research projects, including Arctic Rivers, Coral Reefs on the High Seas Coalition, and Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future. 

As an engaged scholar, she presents her work at conferences, workshops, public events, and directly to policy-makers. She has widely published in science, policy and interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journals, including commentaries in Science and Nature. Further, Cassandra is trained as a Science Communicator through the University of California Santa Cruz and has published more than 175 articles and multi-media stories about marine science and the environment, including in The Seattle Times, Science,
and National Geographic. Cassandra also makes time to talk to the press. Her research and media have been featured in the popular media across the world, including NPR, PBS, CNN, Time Magazine, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post. Active in the Antarctic science- policy sphere, since 2012, Cassandra has participated in meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and currently does so with the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) delegation. She is currently the Deputy Chief Officer of SCAR’s Standing Committee on the Antarctic Treaty System. Cassandra has also served as Science Faculty with Homeward Bound, a global women's leadership initiative set in Antarctica. 

Through her teaching at CU Boulder, which is largely focused on environmental governance and conservation solutions, she seeks to empower the next generations of environmental leaders. Cassandra advises a diverse interdisciplinary lab group, check out their work.

Note to Prospective Students

Professor Brooks is not accepting any new students at this time.