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Assistant Professor

Ursula Quillmann

Discipline: Natural Resources
Colorado State University

Dr. Ursula Quillmann is an associate professor at the Warner College of Natural Resources (WCNR) at Colorado State University. Ursula earned her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Her research focus has been on paleoceanography with emphasis on past abrupt climate changes. The ocean is a key player in the Earth’s climate system by storing and transporting heat. As human actions continue to change the Earth’s climate at an alarming rate, it is important to understand past climate changes prior to human influence.

Ursula is very passionate about our ocean planet and she decided to share her passion by teaching oceanography and environmental systems courses. She joined WCNR in fall 2011 and has taught over 9,000 undergraduate students at CSU since then. In 2019, she received the Harry E. Troxell Distinguished Service-to-Students Faculty Award, an award given to a faculty member in the WCNR who has given outstanding service to students. The award acknowledges faculty members who stimulate the curiosity of students by motivating and challenging them.

Ursula sailed on the Spring 2017 Semester at Sea voyage and embraced full-heartedly the experiences Semester at Sea offers and enjoyed watching students as they became global citizens and became inspired to tackle global issues. Visiting a traditional fishing village in Ghana with her students, Ursula felt overwhelmed by the plastic that had accumulated on the shore and by the plastic that was caught in fishing nets. For the first time in her life, Ursula experienced first-hand that humans had created a new geologic layer that she termed the flip-flop layer. She returned to CSU and became part of a team working to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

It is with enthusiasm that Ursula joins the Spring 2021 faculty at Semester at Sea. She is looking forward to bringing her expertise on environmental oceanography and sustainability to the Global Studies team. She is looking forward to inciting discussion with her students on the future of our ocean and its ecosystems as the ocean warms, wind patterns and current regime change, sea level rises, the ocean acidifies, and is overfished, and is polluted, especially by plastic.