Brent was born and raised in Texas where he rode horses and raised show pigs. After serving nearly eight years in the Marine Corps, he earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and 2010. As an undergraduate, Brent researched high-energy (~ MJ) electromagnetic launchers at the Institute for Advanced Technology, imagining that the technology might one day be useful for returning samples to Earth from a lunar base. He spent his first two summers of graduate school working with the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) group at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, researching glacier dynamics and applications of radar remote sensing to marine oil spill response. Through further research on glacier dynamics and kinematic remote sensing, Brent received a PhD in Geophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 2016 under the advisement of Mark Simons, and he went on to be an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK, working with Hilmar Gudmundsson. In January 2018, Brent joined the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an assistant professor.