Courtney graduated from Stevenson University in Maryland with a dual bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry. As an undergraduate student, Courtney worked in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Sowers, under the supervision of Dr. Birthe Kjellerup, at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology. While there she studied microbial mediated bio-remediation of Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in sea floor sediments. Following graduation, she moved to Colorado to pursue her graduate degree at the University of Colorado Boulder in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While at CU Boulder she studied microbial communities within high elevation snow fields, their effects on nutrients released during snow melt and how climate change may alter community dynamics.
Courtney’s experience with bio-remediation and microbial community analysis landed her in Italy for a biotechnology seminar where she worked with Dr. Daniele Daffonchio at the University of Milan. The seminar involved developing a suite of bacteria that would promote plant growth for use in phyto-remediation. The experiment was tested using contaminated farm soil due to underground storage tank leaks from a nearby factory.