Brett Oliver

I am originally from the Wet Mountains of Southern Colorado. At CU I sought out climate research opportunities during my undergrad with the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). First, my job involved logging sediment cores with Anne Jennings’ lab to help reconstruct the climate history for the Arctic Ocean. Later I worked with James White’s stable isotope lab processing the South Pole Ice Core and running samples through a mass spectrometer to reconstruct Antarctic climate. During my final year at the University of Colorado I pursued an independent research project which ultimately helped me discover my passion: mountainous freshwater systems in the arid West. I worked with Bob Anderson on a senior honors thesis studying a rock glacier in Western Colorado’s Elk Mountains. 

I took time away from school and research to pursue a career in Western water resources at Wright Water Engineers in Durango, Colorado. There I helped different stakeholders navigate the legal structure of the prior appropriation doctrine and secure freshwater. I was a geologist with the company for two years, but eventually found my way back to school as a Masters student in Geoscience at the University of Montana (UM), where I am studying the hydrology of arid mountains relevant to water supply in the American West.