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Lifetime of Education

Phoenix Mourning-Star, '05

Few people earn two advanced degrees, let alone six. Phoenix Mourning-Star has had a lifelong passion for education that began at CMU when he “fell in love with math.”

“Many lives were lived,” said Mourning-Star.

He dropped out of school at 15 and from age 17 to his mid-20s was skiing in the western U.S., Canada and New Zealand, trying to make the U.S. Olympic ski team. When his Olympic dreams didn’t materialize, he decided to go back to school.

Mourning-Star credits CMU Associate Professor of Mathematics Ed Bonan-Hamada, PhD, with his transition from skiing and living in a van that doubled as his living space, to his 2005 CMU degree in math. Bonan-Hamada advised him to “Keep working on your degrees until they make you stop.”

He took that advice to heart and Mourning-Star’s educational accomplishments include a Certificate in Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; a Master of Science in Statistics from the University of Vermont; a Master of Science in Public-Environmental Health Epidemiology from Colorado State University; a Master of Studies in Law/Master of Laws in International Law: Energy/Environment from The University of Auckland, New Zealand; a Master of Arts in International Relations/Affairs, Science and Technology Policy from George Washington University; a Master of Business Administration in Management from Western Governors University; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology/Chemical-Biological Engineering, Health and Renewable Energy from Colorado State University.

“Academia has been a training place for me,” said Mourning-Star.

Throughout the years, he has put these degrees to work in many areas — for various government agencies, as a talk radio host, an entrepreneur, and a freelance writer and researcher. Mourning-Star is also working on his highly successful Health Through Housing, a program for quality, affordable housing in Maine where he currently resides. 


Written by Suzanne Bronson