Nicole Kumbula is a first-year master's student in chemistry at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and was the 2021 commencement senior speaker at her graduation. She joins HRI working with HRI Chair for Ecosystem Science and Modeling, Dr. Xinping Hu. Her masters’ work investigates water quality through applications of water chemistry and modeling techniques in coastal areas. Nicole is a Crutchfield Fellowship receipt from HRI. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, TAMU-CC's M.S Chemistry Program with an earth sciences research focus drew her to Texas.
In 2019, Nicole participated in a multicontinental exchange program studying social justice and sustainable development in urban environments. The program took her to New York, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, and Cape Town. This program sparked her interests in extending her work beyond the lab and fieldwork to include community outreach. She hopes to learn and collaborate with interdisciplinary students, researchers and policy makers at HRI and around the Gulf of Mexico.
Nicole identifies herself as an environmental research chemist, Zimbabwean girl, child education advocate, and an entrepreneur who is on a PhD journey. She hopes to use her environmental chemistry expertise to create a clean environment especially for women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa. In May 2021, through a pitch competition at Bates College, Nicole won a seed grant to start a social venture that is geared to addressing food insecurity for 20 homesteads. She continues to manage the project remotely and participate in mentoring programs from her home country.