Cole Roberts is from a small industrial steel and coal town named Follansbee in West Virginia. Growing up surrounded by industry and the beautiful mountains of West Virginia, was a unique experience that helped form his path into environmental engineering. His passion for the outdoors started at a young age, growing up in a family who loved to camp and travel. Soon he began to realize the importance of clean air, water, and soil as he understood the severe pollution of his home town was not normal. This lead to the pursuit of a cleaner West Virginia, and pushed him to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Sustainability from Wheeling Jesuit University. Here he performed undergraduate research on traces of Heroin in wastewater to address the growing opioid epidemic in his state.
Inspired by his university’s emphasis on service and faith, he became an AmeriCorps volunteer following college. Here he worked for a growing urban farming organization that strived to provide and teach about healthy food to families who didn’t have the access or means to attain it. Building urban farms and studying food systems lead him to pursue a graduate degree in environmental engineering. Ultimately, his goal is to return home to help the people of Appalachia who often suffer from extremely high levels of pollution and poverty.
At Clemson he became a part of the E3 team in the fall of 2018. His research focuses on the carcinogenic industrial compound hexavalent chromium and its prevalence in the state of South Carolina. Currently, his research involves searching for low cost remediation techniques and finding sufficient alternatives in order to ultimately eliminate use of hexavalent chromium. He recently became the Graduate Advisory Board Representative for the department of environmental engineering and looks forward to this opportunity.
Outside of school Cole enjoys adventuring through the great outdoors, reading, sports, traveling, food, and spending time with family and friends.