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Jennifer Rivers Cole, Ph.D.



Jenn Cole is concurrently on the faculty in the Graduate School of Sustainability at Harvard Extension, and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Previously, Dr. Cole was on the faculty at Harvard University in Earth and Planetary Sciences, and served as Director of Environmental Studies at Northeastern University. She also teaches at Tufts University.  Dr. Cole has over 40 publications in the fields of energy, wetlands, and agriculture, and has written books on natural disasters. She holds a Ph.D. in Earth Science from Syracuse University. She is an elected member of the Geological Society of America’s Geoscience in Education Committee as well as their Geology in Public Policy Committee and the GeoHeritage Panel. She also has a career in the environmental consulting field, serving as an expert witness in wetlands cases, and representing town conservation commissions on river and wetland protection act cases. She was Senior Hydrologist at Weston and Sampson Engineers, Inc., is principal at her own private consulting firm, Rivers Consulting. She is a Conservation Commissioner in the Town of Otis, MA. Dr. Cole has given many invited talks, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and The Weston Observatory.  She represented Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the White House on two occasions.

Education & Experience


Syracuse University  Ph.D. Earth Science

Bard College M.S. – Environmental Science

Smith College/Woods Hole MBL/BU Marine  Program Master’s Research

University of Massachusetts Amherst – B.S. Environmental Science

Simon’s Rock College – A.A. Liberal Arts

Awards & Grants

  • Johns Hopkins Universal Design for Learning 2023

  • Harvard University Teaching Partnership 2023 (Natural Resource Materials of Earth)

  • Harvard University Teaching Partnership 2019 (Natural Disasters in a Global Environment)

  • Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 2015

  • Unity College Graduate Priority Distance Education Distinction Faculty Member 

  • MassSaves Recycling Award – through Green Team, Roger Wellington School 2015 

  • Green Cup Energy Challenge First Place –Green Alliance, Belmont, MA 2014 

  • Northeastern University Provost’s Office Grant for Undergraduate Team Research, Conservation Complex in Costa Rica 2011 

  • Northeastern University Dean’s Office Grant for Travel to Saratoga Springs 2010 

  •  Nalgene Student Grant - Bike Share Program 2009 

  • Sherman Fairchild Endowment grant for travel with students to Edmunds Maine 2008 

  • Sigma Delta Tau Outstanding Professor of Northeastern University 2008 

  • Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award, Northeastern University 2007 

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Northeastern University 2005 

  • Presidential Aspiration Award, Northeastern University 2004 

  • StudyWeb Academic Excellence Award for Web Notes of Natural Disasters Course 2003 

  • Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award, Northeastern University 2001 

  • Teaching Fellow – Center for Effective University Teaching, Northeastern 2000 

  • Association for Women in Science Travel Grant to Toronto, Canada 1999 

  • Newton E. Chute Award for Outstanding Graduate Student of 1998 

  • Research Assistantship, Syracuse University 1994 - 1999 

  • Graduate Student Association grant for travel to AGU meeting, San Francisco, CA 1995 

  • Tuition Scholarship for Ph.D. studies at Syracuse University 1994-1996 

  • Graduate Student Association grant for travel to National GSA meeting, New Orleans, LA 1995 

  • Howard Hughes fellowship for research support in Belize, Central America 1994

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