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Eighteenth-century author, political theorist, and philosopher Edmund Burke said “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” This may be one of the reasons Audrey Kaye Taylor, a graduate student in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, studies paleoclimatology. She focuses on the isolation of fossil molecules from terrestrial and marine sediments to characterize past climate and environmental change in ancient systems to better understand today's — and tomorrow’s — climate.

Audrey Kaye Taylor left her hometown of Reno, Nev., to study climate change science and organic geochemistry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). She received her bachelor's degree  — geography with a minor in chemistry — from that university in 2017.

Her research as an undergraduate involved her in many aspects of paleoclimatology — the study of climate change within the scale of Earth’s history.

One of the many experiences she had, the one around which she developed her honors thesis project, involved field work in Portugal. While there, she helped excavate a Neanderthal cave in central Portugal and also surveyed the coast to help reconstruct mechanisms of mid-Holocene atmospheric circulation and environmental change, gathering data from sediments that were part of an organic deposit from a paleowetland. From those samples she extracted leaf wax  molecules that were used to help document the climatic history of the region. Audrey's thesis demonstrated the responsiveness of the central Portuguese coast to the climate changes of the North Atlantic. An interdisciplinary project, it reinforced in her the importance and the intricacy of climate, past, present, and future.

Audrey also worked on climate related projects with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as additional environmental projects at UNCW, which inspired her to pursue a career in climate change research and education.

She is currently a graduate student in pursuit of her doctorate in earth sciences and hopes to enter academia as a researcher, professor, and mentor to future generations.

More about Audrey Kaye:
As a Clare Boothe Luce scholar and member of the Organic Biogeochemistry Laboratory, Audrey doesn't have much spare time. But when she does, she volunteers for river clean ups and serves as a judge for science fairs. She also enjoys kickboxing and spending time with friends and family.