“In the last 100 years we have learned very little about our bedrock groundwater resources. Rock has natural fractures, some of which carry water. We drill into the fractures to tap the water. We can’t answer basic questions of how deep to drill, how much water, where to drill,” says Professor Gary Robbins, an expert on hydrogeology.
Robbins’ journey to become head of UConn’s Groundwater Program, recognized as one of the Northeast’s leading programs in applied hydrogeology, began when he was a boy and walked into the Museum of Natural History in his hometown of New York City with his brother. He entered the rock room and his life was forever changed.
“I never thought of a career in geology until that moment. It led me to take earth science in high school and major in geology in college,” said Robbins, now a professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and a faculty member in the Center for Integrative Geosciences at the University of Connecticut.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College in Brooklyn, NY, Robbins attended Brown University for his MS and later Texas A&M for his PhD. At all three institutions, he focused his studies on geology. While Robbins was always interested in teaching, he also wanted to do something practical and hands-on. He worked as an intern for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, studying disposal of radioactive waste. This led him to the study of groundwater, a personal and professional interest that informs his work inside and outside the classroom.
Robbins joined the UConn faculty in 1986 in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. In 2004, he moved to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources because of his interest in water-related work and his desire to find practical applications for his expertise. (more…)