Nicole Brooks
Colorado Art Science Environment Fellow 2022-23
CASE Scientist • INSTAAR • PhD

I am originally from Longmont, CO, but I spent 12 years in New York City. After experiencing life in a big city, I went back to school at Brooklyn College where I found a love for geology and paleoclimatology. After undergraduate school, I moved back to Colorado and began working at the Institute for Alpine and Arctic Research (INSTAAR) as a Professional Research Assistant. I assessed marine sediment cores from the end of the last ice age to understand how deglaciation implicated changes in ocean currents and climate. As much as I loved doing paleoclimate research, I wanted to make a difference that would be applied to our modern world. I applied to Colorado University’s Environmental Engineering Program and immediately felt at home with other people who think outside the box. In my MS program, I am researching how a warming climate influences pyrite weathering causing the mobilization of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) in high-altitude streams. Pyrite weathering is the mechanism accelerating acid rock and acid mine drainage a major environmental issue regarding water quality. Doing this research is important to understand how these processes can affect drinking water in the future.