Photo of Cassandra Brooks
Assistant Professor
Environmental Studies

Office: SEEC S106D

Office Hours

  • Wednesdays 10am - 12pm

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. In 2015, she was awarded a Switzer Fellowship in Environmental Leadership. Cassandra is also Science Faculty with Homeward Bound, a global women's leadership initiative set in Antarctica.

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. She is 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, 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) through the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) delegation. For her interdisciplinary engaged scholarship, she was recently awarded the 2021 Early Career Award from the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences.

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

I am very interested in working with passionate, creative and hard-working students. 

For prospective graduate students: I am currently recruiting a PhD student to work on the NSF-funded project Using Otolith Chemistry to Reveal the Life History of Antarctic Toothfish in the Ross Sea, Antarctica: Testing Fisheries and Climate Change Impacts on a Top Fish Predator. Please see link for a description of the project.

Desired Background/Qualifications:

A strong quantitative background is required. Ideal candidates will have a Master’s degree and/or previous research experience. Specifically, experience in chemistry – especially stable isotopes and/or trace metals, quantitative ecology, programming and statistics (e.g., in Python, R), and mapping (e.g., GIS) is desired. Individuals with backgrounds in biology, marine science, oceanography, ecology and/or related fields with a strong desire to work at the science-policy interface as engaged scholars are encouraged to apply.

To apply:

Please send your CV and a letter of interest to Select candidates will be required to apply to the ENVS PhD program, with an application deadline of December 1, 2022. You can read more about the Brooks Lab HERE.  


For prospective undergraduate students: If you are a current Environmental Studies undergraduate and would like to work with me, please send me an email including your:

  1. CV or Resume
  2. A brief description of your research interests, and if you are a prospective graduate student, why you want to pursue graduate work in the Department of Environmental Studies and why my research group would be a good fit.
  3. A brief description of any relevant experience or skills, including copies or links to publications (e.g., peer-reviewed manuscripts, agency reports, conference proceedings, poster PDFs, or popular media).