Anna Robertson, Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Wyoming

Education & Experience

2019-present: Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Atmospheric Science at University of Wyoming

2014 – 2019: Ph. D. Student in Atmospheric Science at the University of Wyoming

2009 – 2013: B.S. in Atmospheric Science with a minor in Computer Science at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

My interests

My research interests currently focus on emissions from oil and natural gas production, primarily methane and BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene) compounds. Outside of research, I like to spend my time outdoors (hiking, fishing, camping, rock clambering), reading, or playing roller derby.

How I became a scientist

My love of science largely developed from exploring the woods behind my house as a kid, running into the nearby open field to watch thunderstorms roll through, and trying to rescue injured animals I found outside. I decided not to follow the veterinarian path after I took a biology class in high school and couldn’t bring myself to help dissect a cat, so when the time came to pick a college route I was torn between environmental and atmospheric science. My final decision to pursue atmospheric science at the School of Mines was heavily influenced by my eagerness to live near and explore the Black Hills area, and because it was a very engineering-centric school which allowed me to dive into math and science right off the bat. I initially became interested in air quality during my undergrad when I had the opportunity to be involved in an internship taking in-flight measurements of ozone and NOx over the Los Angeles Basin. After that, I decided to base my senior capstone on investigating the cause of a high ozone event in rural Wyoming, and have been interested in working to improve air quality ever since.

As an undergraduate student I worked with a physics professor on an undergraduate research project that involved analyzing turbulence data from British Airways’ flights. He suggested that I pursue a graduate degree in Atmospheric Science. I followed his advice and studied ‘waves in the atmosphere’ as part of my graduate thesis. I was good at research, and I wanted to be involved in a research project that would directly benefit society. Hence, when I got the chance, I chose to work with the climate modeling group at NCAR which develops a model that is used to study past, present, as well as predict future climate.


How my work benefits society

My work helps to better define methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, which can be harmful to human health, from the natural gas production sector. Ultimately, by better understanding these emissions, more effective policies can be implemented to control them.