Northwestern University, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Evanston, IL

PhD, Earth and Planetary Science                                                                                               9/2016- 8/2021

MS, Earth and Planetary Science                                                                                                   9/2016-6/2018

  • Overall GPA: 3.92/4.0

Union College, Department of Geology, Schenectady, NY

BS, Geology, Summa Cum Laude                                                                                                  9/2011-6/2015

  • Minor: Environmental Engineering
  • Overall GPA: 3.80/4.0
  • Sigma Xi National Scientific Research Honor Society Member
  • Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society Member
  • Departmental Honors


Research Expertise

Postdoctoral Research Scientist                                                                                                  9/2021-present

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY

  • Supervisor: David Goldberg
  • Researching the optimization of injection strategies and mineralization of carbon dioxide during in-situ storage in offshore basalt
  • Investigating transport and fate of carbon using the Subsurface Transport over Multiple Phases (STOMP-CO2) reactive transport simulator
  • Addressing issues of scale and efficiency to improve existing mineral carbonation technologies
  • Interested in developing and testing new methods of monitoring CO2 mineralization rates and quantifying efficiency using isotope tracers

Doctoral Dissertation, Northwestern University.                                                                       9/2016-8/2021

“Investigating Basalt Chemical Weathering in Iceland and its Role in Climate Regulation with Stable Calcium Isotopes”

  • Project 1: Differentiating between silicate and carbonate mineral weathering in the Skagafjörður watershed, North Iceland
    • Aqueous geochemistry and stable isotope geochemistry as tools to assess controls on basalt weathering in rivers
    • Quantifying element mobility and soil formation during basalt alteration at surficial conditions
    • Ca isotope fractionation during adsorption to suspended sediments, colloidal material, vegetation uptake
    • Evaluating role of hot springs on river chemistry, including assessing seawater inputs through circulation in flanks of the mid-ocean ridge
  • Project 2:  Assessing the disproportionate role of basalt weathering on long term climate regulation
    • Basaltic glass and hyaloclastite weathering in the Icelandic Highlands
    • Ca isotope fractionation during alteration of basaltic glass at high temperatures (palagonitization)
    • Quantifying element mobility and secondary mineral formation during basalt alteration at elevated temperatures and high water-rock ratios
  • Project 3: Basalt alteration in subsurface hydrothermal settings
    •  Zeolite mineral geochemistry, including assessing the role of zeolites as Ca sinks in hydrothermal systems
    • Calcite precipitation in hydrothermal systems during low- and high-temperature basalt alteration

Bachelor’s Thesis, Union College                                                                                                  9/2014- 6/2015

  • “Quantifying Radon Gas Emanation Rates of the Marcellus and Utica Shales”



Nelson C.J., Jacobson A., Kitch, G.D., & Weisenberger T. (2021). “Large calcium isotope fractionations by zeolite minerals from IcelandCommunications Earth and Environment 2 (206)

Nelson C.J., Jacobson A. & Weisenberger T. (2022) “Controls on riverine calcium isotope ratios during basalt weathering in the Skagafjörður watershed, Iceland”, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 333, p 216-241.

Nelson C.J., Jacobson A. & Weisenberger T. “Ca isotope study of volcanic glass weathering in the Icelandic Highlands- reassessing the role of basalt weathering on the carbon cycle” in prep for Geology.


Submitted Proposals

Nelson C.J., Oelkers E.H., Pogge von Strandmann P.A.E., Turchyn, A. V., Clark, D.E., and Gislason S.R.“Ca isotope Ratios to trace Basalt alteration and quantify mineral carbonation: an example from the CarbFix sites in Iceland”, submitted for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, September 9, 2020.


Conference Abstracts

Nelson, C.J., Goldberg, D.S., White, M.D., Slagle, A.L. “Optimizing Injection Strategies for CO2 Storage and Mineralization in Basalt through Multiphase Subsurface Reservoir Simulations” submitted to 16thInternational Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, October 2022

Nelson C.J., Jacobson A. & Weisenberger T. “Basalt Chemical Weathering in the Icelandic Highlands investigated with Stable Ca isotopes” submitted to Goldschmidt July 2022

  • Goldschmidt 2022 Convener, Session 8k: Silicate Mineral Dissolution and Carbonation Reactions: Applications of CO2-fluid-mineral Interactions to Surficial and Subsurface Carbon Sequestration.

Awolayo, A.N., Tutolo, B., Lauer, R. de Obeso, J.C., Nelson, C.J., Goldberg, D.S. “Water-Alternating-Gas (WAG) injection as a plausible scheme to optimize carbon dioxide mineralization in the basaltic oceanic crust” submitted to Goldschmidt July 2022

Nelson, C., Goldberg, D.S., White, M.D., Slagle, A.L. “Optimizing Injection Strategies for CO2 Storage and Mineralization in Basalt through Multiphase Subsurface Reservoir Simulations” submitted to 19th International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization, June 2022.

Nelson, C., Goldberg, D.S., White, M.D., Slagle, A.L. “Optimizing Injection Strategies for carbon storage and mineralization in basalt through multiphase reservoir simulations” Gordon Research Conferences: Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage, April 2022

Nelson C., Jacobson A., Kitch, G. & Weisenberger T. “Ca-O bonding controls the Ca isotope geochemistry of hydrothermal zeolites from Iceland” Goldschmidt Abstracts. 2021

Nelson C., Jacobson A. & Weisenberger T. “Ca Isotope Study of Hyaloclastite Weathering in the Icelandic Highlands” Goldschmidt Abstracts2020 1907.

  • Session Convener, 14g: Weathering: Long-Term Terrestrial Climate Change, Modern Quantification, and Implications for Extraterrestrial Environments.

Nelson C., Jacobson A. & Weisenberger T. “Large Fractionations of Ca Isotopes by Zeolite Minerals from Iceland” Goldschmidt Abstracts2019 2417.

Nelson C. and Garver J.I. “Radon Potential of the Utica and Marcellus Black Shales of Eastern New York.” Geological Society of America Abstracts. Vol. 47, No. 3, p.73. March, 2015.


Professional Experience

Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, Cella, New York, NY                                                  5/2022- present

Science Advisor, Carbon Direct Inc, New York, NY                                                                   3/2022-present

Expert Reviewer, XPRIZE Foundation                                                                                           1/2022-3/2022

Environmental Engineering Intern, Interfluve Inc., Hood River, OR                                    6/2014-8/2014


Teaching Experience

Adjunct Faculty, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL                                                                   2019

  • Served as a temporary faculty, teaching an introductory level Earth Science course to undergraduate students

Teaching Assistant, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

  • Environmental Science 202, Health of the Biosphere                                                                2020
  • Earth 201, Earth Systems Revealed                                                                                2018, 2019, 2021
    • Independently taught lab section
  • Earth 105, Introductory Earth and Climate science                                                                       2017

Science Instructor, Cascade Mountain School, Trout Lake, WA                                                               2016

  • Designed and taught placed-based glaciology, volcanology and environmental science courses to middle and high school students
  • Led week-long backpacking trips with 14 students, middle and high school aged

Science Apprentice, High Mountain Institute, Leadville, CO                                                                    2015

  • Co-taught science class to high school juniors and seniors
  • Participated in teacher training seminar throughout the semester, designed to train the theory and practice of experiential education, as well as classroom teaching and mentoring skills
  • Led multi-week backpacking trips through the Colorado Rockies and Utah canyons

Supplemental Instructor, Union College, NY                                                                                     2014-2015

  • Chemistry 101
    • Independently designed and taught one class per week aimed at synthesizing and reinforcing difficult concepts from the week’s lesson


Field Experience

Expedition Leader, Iceland, Dissertation Fieldwork                                                                  2017, 2019

  • Independently planned and executed two separate multi-week field expeditions to Iceland.
  • Responsible for managing all finances, as well as managing, training, and maintaining the safety of one field assistant

Field Instructor, Baraboo, WI                                                                                                 2017, 2018, 2019

  • Responsible for teaching geologic history of field region, as well as training students on outcrop examination and field safety skills

Expedition Leader, New York, Bachelors Thesis Fieldwork                                                  2014-2015

  • Independently planned and executed fieldwork for rock sampling and Gamma ray analysis


Selected Outreach

GeoEquity Co-founder and Outreach Chair, Northwestern University                                       2020-2021

  • Established a committee dedicated to organizing wide-ranging community efforts advocating for racial justice, as well as diversity and inclusion in the geosciences

Chicago Women in STEM, Chicago, IL                                                                                                 2018-2021

  • Active in a Chicago networking and outreach group of women in STEM in academia and industry

Expanding Your Horizons, Financial Chair, Chicago, IL                                                                            2019

  • Executive board member- organized a 1-day event to inspire middle school girls from underrepresented minority backgrounds into STEM careers through showcasing ongoing research by women graduate students at Northwestern

Science Club Mentor, Boys and Girls Club, Chicago, IL2017-2019

  • Teacher/mentor- after school program making science fun and accessible to Chicago middle school students

Workshop Leader, Integrating Climate Science into High School STEM Courses                            2018

  • Designed lesson plans and lab activities for high school chemistry teachers
  • Ran 3-day workshop for local teachers



  • Teaching Certificate Program, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL                          2020-2021
    • Year-long teacher training course for academics with a focus on equity, inclusivity, and diversity in course design and classroom teaching
  • Research Communication Training Program Graduate, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 2020
    • 8-week certification course- trains academics to communicate scientific research to a broad audience
  • Wilderness First Responder Certified, Wilderness Medical Associates International, 2015-present

Presentation of zeolites work, Goldschmidt Conference 2019, Barcelona, Spain.



  • Subsurface Transport over Multiple Phases (STMOP) course                                          2021-2022
    • reactive transport modeling training led by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Unlearning Racism in the GEosciences (URGE) Student                                                         2020
    • Community-wide reading and policy design curriculum to help geosciences increase equity, diversity, accessibility, justice and inclusion in our field
  • Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), Northwestern University
    • “Bring an Inclusive Mindset to your Teaching”                                                                     2020
  • Chicago Women in STEM symposium, “Advancing Women Leaders in STEM”                    2020
  • Geochemists Workbench Reactive Transport Modeling Workshop                                      2019
  • Chicago Women in STEM symposium, “Implicit Bias” Workshop                                          2019
  • Northwestern University, R workshop                                                                                            2018


  • PHREEQC, Stella Professional, ArcGIS, STOMP-CO2
  • Instrument skills include ICP-OES, TIMS, Ion Chromatograph, ICP-MS
  • Spanish Language Skills (excellent speaking, proficient writing and reading)

LinkedIn Earth Institute