Skip to main content

Cielo Sharkus

NE CASC Graduate Fellow
Ph.D. Student
UMass Amherst


My research is focused on applying an interdisciplinary approach to large-scale watershed management, hazards management, and environmental injustice. I use social, biological, and geophysical analysis tools to understand the impacts of climate and land-use change drinking water quality, stormwater & runoff erosion, and pollutant movement & quantification. Projects have focused on understanding how disenfranchised populations disproportionately experience environmental disasters, such as flooding and post-wildfire drinking water contamination.  I use a tangential empirical & software engineering approach to apply field data to machine learning/GIS models.

Other research interests include the application of biochemical metabolites and other analytical chemistry tools to understanding the mechanisms in which climate-driven pollutants affect biodiversity and human health. Future work will focus on developing participatory methods for municipalities to use to project human health and biodiversity in a changing climate.


Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, May 2019
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Zurich University of Applied Sciences
Thesis title: “New Class of Fluorescent Biomarkers” Advisor: Dr. Arne Gericke and Dr. Achim Ecker
Minor: Environmental Studies & Sustainability


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental & Water Resource Engineering


Research Assistant, WPI – Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Spring 2016-2018
Research Assistant, WPI – Dept. of Life Science and Bioengineering, Fall 2018- Spring 2019
Teaching Assistant, WPI – Dept. of Social Science and Policy Studies, Fall 2017- Spring 2018
Student Mentor, Worcester Public Schools – Biotechnology, Fall 2013- Spring 2020
Graduate Research Assistant, UMass Amherst – Dept. of Civil and Env. Engineering and Spaulding-Smith Fellows Program, Fall 2019-Present

Awards and Honors

Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Graduate Scholar (2020)
National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholar (2019)
GEM Fellowship Finalist (2019)
Gilman International Scholar (2018)
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar (2017)
Martin Luther King Scholar (2015)
+1 more