Catherine Cole takes an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues, drawing on her unusual background in the humanities and science to explore the relationship of people to our planet. Dr. Cole began her career in musicology, earning a B.A. in music (1992) and a Ph.D. in music history (2003). Her doctoral research explored representations of nature in eighteenth-century French opera, situating music within the cultural context of the European Enlightenment. She then taught undergraduate and graduate music history classes for several years.
After moving to Boone, Dr. Cole returned to the "other side of the desk" as an M.S. student in Biology at Appalachian State, and found it both challenging and deeply satisfying to become a scientist for the first time, as an older student! Her M.S. research examined the ecophysiology of the Appalachian forest species Sedum ternatum. She is now interested in botany, biodiversity, and climate change – and in how different academic disciplines can work together to shed light on environmental problems.