Patricia J. S. Colberg is an environmental microbiologist by primary training.  She holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University where she worked with Lily Y. Young (now at Rutgers University).  Following her doctoral work, Dr. Colberg spent several years in Europe, first as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG) working with Alexander J.B. Zehnder (Professor Emeritus at ETH-Zürich and currently Scientific Director of the Alberta Water Research Institute) and René P. Schwarzenbach (retired Professor at ETH-Zürich), and then as a Visiting Scientist at the Agricultural University in Wageningen, The Netherlands.

In 2009, after spending several years in the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming, Dr. Colberg joined the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering where she holds the rank of tenured Professor. She is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Wyoming (License No. 14442).

Dr. Colberg’s research interests include both basic and applied topics, but is largely focused on anaerobic processes:  microbial transformations of organic contaminants in soils, sediments and ground water; microbial immobilization of heavy metals; electron transport in metal-reducing bacteria; iron cycling in cold alpine lakes; impact of carbon sequestration on subsurface microbial processes; fate and transport of nanoparticles in environmental systems; reversal of passivation of Fe° permeable reactive barriers. Colberg is the ABET Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator for her department. She was trained as an ABET IDEAL Scholar in 2012 and became an ABET IDEAL Senior Scholar in 2013. In 2014, she was selected to serve as one of two “Assessment Scholars” for the University of Wyoming’s University Studies Program.

Dr. Colberg has received a number of awards including being named an “Education Fellow in the Life Sciences” by the National Academy of Sciences (2004).  She was named a “Top 15 Advisor” in 1998 and has received several additional citations for advising at the University of Wyoming (2003, 1998, 1997, 1996).  She was awarded the esteemed ‘Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching’ (1997) and a citation for ‘Extraordinary Merit in Teaching’ (1996).

Dr. Colberg has served on a total of 65 departmental, college and university committees during her time at the University of Wyoming.  Her most notable committee service includes the following:

  • Mentoring Champion, College of Engineering & Applied Science, 2009-
  • Chair, University Tenure and Promotion Committee, 2007-2008
  • Advising Coordinator, Department of Zoology and Physiology, 2007-2009
  • Chair, Tenure and Promotion Committee, College of Arts and Sciences, 2003-2005
  • Chair, Natural Sciences Subcommittee, University Studies Program, 2001-2002
  • NCA Subcommittee on Undergraduate Education 1999-2000
  • Chair, A&S Teaching Committee, 1998-2000

In her free time, she likes to kayak, hike, ski, snowshoe, cycle, travel, garden (yes, at 7200 feet!) and cook (especially French, Middle Eastern and East Indian). She is a three-time cancer survivor and serves on the Board of Directors of “Gift for Living”, a local organization that assists cancer patients with unpaid bills. She is married to a Swiss geochemist (Dr. Norbert Swoboda-Colberg) and has two children, Skye and Siena.

Patricia J. S. Colberg, Ph.D., P.E. (in purple scarf)
Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering
University of Wyoming
Laramie, Wyoming 82071-2000
Tel:  (307) 766-6142
Email: pczoo@uwyo.edu