COURSE INSTRUCTOR

Sharon Hoffman

Sharon Hoffman

Sharon Hoffmann studies past climate and ocean circulation, to better predict how modern and future climate will behave. She grew up on Long Island, NY, atop a glacial moraine - hills of sediments left by the last North American ice sheet. Since then she lived on another glacial moraine on Cape Cod, and in Ann Arbor, Michigan (more moraines) before returning to Long Island.

Sharon studied geology at Columbia University, and worked for several years as a lab assistant at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, identifying microfossils and washing mud through sieves. As a graduate student she studied paleoclimate and paleoceanography at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she earned her PhD in Marine Geology. There she measured naturally-occurring radioactive elements that are produced in seawater and end up buried in seafloor sediments, to investigate changes in the Arctic Ocean's circulation and chemistry since the last ice age. She participated in two oceanographic research cruises, one investigating nutrient cycling in the Bering Sea and one observing water circulation in the Laptev Sea north of Siberia, and made a snow angel on the Arctic sea ice cap.

Sharon followed grad school with a postdoctoral stint at the University of Michigan, sampling a stalagmite from Borneo to reconstruct the behavior and variability of El Nino and other tropical climate features at several different times during the last 10,000 years of our current interglacial period. She then worked as a postdoctoral researcher and taught a course on how to think like a scientist at Columbia University. She is now an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, teaching oceanography and researching how the intermediate and deep-water circulation of the Atlantic varied with major past climate changes.