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Cassandra Brooks

Title:PhD Student
Primary Affiliation:Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources
Office Location:Y2E2 226

Biographical Information

Cassandra has worked in marine science and public outreach for almost fifteen years. Her writing and research focuses on marine resource exploitation worldwide, from her local New England Rivers to the remote reaches of Antarctica.  During her previous graduate work at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, she studied life history of Antarctic toothfish, one of two species known as “Chilean sea bass.” The Ross Sea population she investigated supports the most remote fishery on Earth.

Cassandra has worked in the lab, underwater, and at sea and has presented her work at conferences and workshops both nationally and internationally, while publishing in peer-reviewed journals. She's toiled as a federal fisheries observer on New England groundfish boats and spent a number of years devoted to wilderness therapy and environmental education throughout the United States. Over the years, she has also worked in traditional ecological knowledge - from uncovering the details of the first documented dam protest in New England to investigating the precolonial cod fishery history.

To gain true expertise in communicating science to the public, Cassandra completed a Graduate Certificate in Science Communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2009. As an established science writer and multi-media producer, she published more than 100 articles and multi-media about marine science, the environment and human well-being in local, national and international outlets. Most recently, she's worked with the Last Ocean Project to produce media and support outreach to promote policy designed to protect ecologically important regions of the globe like the Ross Sea, Antarctica. She's also worked with the Antarctic Ocean Alliance and other non-profits writing policy reports identifying important areas for marine protection in the Antarctic and elsewhere. 

Cassandra has now returned to school to pursue a PhD with Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. She has proposed to quantify and qualify the tipping points that led to historical conservation action. She plans to study the strategies of indigenous fishers, scholars who have studied the origins of conservation ethics, and bold political efforts like the Antarctic Treaty. She hopes to apply these political, scientific and cultural frameworks to the high seas and other ocean regions in urgent need of sustainable management.



Professional Experience

  • The Last Ocean Project. Boulder, CO & Christchurch, NZ. 2010 – 2012. News Director. Outreach about the Ross Sea, Antarctica, including assisting with The Last Ocean documentary. Also working to develop and execute high impact media in remote communities (e.g. Bahamas and Raja Ampat, Indonesia). Further, writing, editing and multi-media production for a new online news site dedicated to fisheries and oceans issues.
  • Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center, Point Reyes National Seashore, National Park Service. Point Reyes, CA. 2009 – 2012. Science Communication Specialist. Producing science podcasts, videos, and narrated slideshows.
  • Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR), NOAA Fisheries. 2006, 2008, & 2011. Research technician on Antarctic zooplankton and finfish survey cruises.
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. 2009–2012. Video producer for the SACNAS Science Video series. Contributing writer for SACNAS biography project and SACNAS News.
  • Seattle Times. Seattle, WA. 2010. Kaiser Media Health Fellow. Reported on health and science with an emphasis on minority and diverse communities.
  • The Scientist Magazine. 2010. Science writing intern. Writing science articles and producing video for online and print. 
  • Winds of Change. 2007-2010. Contributing writer and editor. Magazine of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.
  • Stanford University. Stanford, CA. 2009. Science writing intern. Stanford University public information office and Woods Institute for the Environment.
  • Santa Cruz Sentinel. Santa Cruz, CA. 2008. Intern. Writing science articles for newspaper.
  • San Francisco Exploratorium. 2008. Published field reports from 2008 AMLR cruise for the San Francisco Exploratorium “Ice Stories” program. Also covered the Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia in July 2008.
  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Moss Landing, CA. 2004 – 2008. Graduate Research Assistant on NSF grant, Collaborative Research: Radiometric Age Validation of the Patagonian and Antarctic toothfishes (Dissostichus eleginoides and D. mawsoni). Also, Research Technician on the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program, tagging fish in and out of marine protected areas off the central California coast.
  • Hawaii Audubon Society. 2007– 2008. Honolulu, HI. Graduate Intern for Ocean Awareness Project. Research and writing for marine science curriculum in local schools.
  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Monterey, CA. 2006. Species Database Intern for the MBNMS’s Natural History and Species Database.
  • Sanctuary Cruises. Moss Landing, CA. 2004. Whale watch cruises and special charters.
  • Naturalists At Large. 2003. Outdoors Educator. Outdoors Educator for California public and private school groups 6th - 12th grade.
  • Summit Achievement. Stowe, ME. 2002-2003. Wilderness Therapy Guide. Led backpacking trips throughout ME and NH.
  • Student Conservation Association. 2002 and 2003. Crew Leader for high school trail crews in National Parks (Jean LaFitte National Park and Cumberland Gap National Historic Park).
  • National Marine Fisheries Service. 2002-2003. Fisheries Observer in New England commercial fishing ports. Biological and economic data collection on long-liners and trawlers. 
  • Hurricane Island Outward Bound Southern Programs. 2001. Assistant Instructor with adjudicated youth during 30-day canoe wilderness courses throughout Florida waterways.
  • Sierra Club and New Hampshire Public Interest Research Group (NHPIRG). 2001. Field Manager. Fundraising about local and national environmental issues.
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Gloucester Point, VA. 2000. REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). Fieldwork and data analysis on Baltic clam and blue crab population dynamics.
  • Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. Salisbury Cover, ME. 1999. REU. Molecular biology research, including genetic sequencing, on green crabs and winter flounder.
  • New England Aquarium. 1998. Environmental Education Intern. Outreach in aquarium, including independent projects on watersheds, by-catch and deep-sea fishes.


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