Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Asta Zerue Habtemichael studied Applied Marine Science at the College of Marine Science and Technology, Eritrea. He received his M.A. in Marine Affairs and Masters of Environmental Science Management from the University of Rhode Island. Currently, he is a doctoral degree candidate in Chemical Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography and a trainee in the STEEP Superfund Research Program.

Prior to moving to Rhode Island, Asta studied the impacts of heavy metal pollution and ocean acidification in fish and shellfish species in Eritrea. He also led community-based initiatives focused on education, environmental stewardship, and pollution remediation in Eritrea. Asta is also a committed educator who has taught many scientific courses for students from elementary to graduate school. He works on science education and society research projects focused on creating inclusive learning and research spaces in the SEAS lab.  He leads various professional development workshops, training, and discussion events centering on holistic inclusion to solve environmental problems via learning communities such as URGE and VOICES. He is an ambassador in the community of practice for the AGU LANDInG program.

After completing his Ph.D., Asta plans to work in a national or international research program at the interface of science and policy to understand chemical impacts within ecological health framework to best inform prevention and mitigation efforts. In his leisure time, he enjoys reading, running, playing soccer, and cooking traditional recipes from around the world.