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Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer has been with the IUPUI Department of Earth Science since 2008, and has taught a number of our undergraduate courses. Early in her career, Jennifer created the Earth Science Department's first online course in Oceanography, a course she continues to teach today. Jennifer's teaching philosophy, in part, reads: "My classroom, whether on-campus or online, is a place of active learning where students develop life-long academic and professional skills, while acquiring the knowledge that allows them to be informed citizens of this Earth" In 2016, Jennifer began a position as Undergraduate Academic Advisor, serving as the advisors for our Environmental Science and Geology students. While in this position, Jennifer continues to focus on teaching three courses: GEOL-G115 Introducation to Oceanography, GEOL-G205 Reporting Skills in the Geosciences, and the IUPUI Themed Learning Community - Sustainability: Thriving Communities, Thriving Planet.


  • M.S., Geology, IUPUI, 2006, Thesis Title: "Cyclic deposition of carbonate and organic matter in Holocene Lacustrine sediment, Lower Michigan, USA"
  • Graduate Certificate, Geographic Information Systems, IUPUI, 2006
  • B.S., Geology, Geography minor, IUPUI, 2003

Courses Taught / Teaching

  • GEOL-G115 Oceanography*        
  • GEOL-G205 Reporting Skills in Geoscience*
  • SCI-I120 Windows on Science* as part of the TLC: Sustainability: Thriving Communities, Thriving Planet
  • British Virgin Islands: Coastal Environments and Sustainability Experiential Field Study
  • GEOL-G107 Environmental Geology and GEOL-G117 Environmental Geology Lab
  • GEOL-G110 Physical Geology (online) and GEOL-G120 Physical Geology Lab
  • GEOL-G135 Indiana Geology (online)
  • GEOL-G136 Indiana Geology Field Experience (online)

*currently teaching


While working in the Department of Earth Sciences, Jennifer has collaborated on several important course development projects, including the development and continued updates to GEOL-G115 Oceanography, the development of an online laboratory in Indiana Geology GEOL-G136, and the development and teaching of an IUPUI Themed Learning Community with a focus on Sustainabiltiy.

Jennifer's research interests include geoscience education (how we teach geoscience), oceanography (study of the oceans), and paleoclimatology (study of past climate). Her current research focuses on engaged learning in the online and on-campus classroom, and integration of environmental service learning in the undergraduate geoscience classroom. Jennifer's thesis work focused on determining environmental changes over the past 10,000 years using lake core sediments from south-central Michigan to determine how climate has changed in the past both on a local and global scale.

Publications & Professional Activities

Nelson, J. Integration of Service Learning in Online Geoscience Courses. On the Cutting Edge - Strong Undergraduate Geoscience Teaching; Teaching Service Learning in the Geosciences Topical Resources; National Association of Geoscience Teachers, 2016. < http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/servicelearning/activities/137886...

Nelson, Jennifer; Licht, Kathy; Yansa, Catherine; Filippelli, Gabriel, 2009, Climate-related cyclic deposition of carbonate and organic matter in Holocene lacustrine sediment, Lower Michigan, USA, Journal of Paleolimology, Volume 44, Issue 1 (2010), pp. 1-13.

Schuster, Dwight A; Nelson, Jennifer A; Filippelli, Gabriel, 2009, Year 2: 11th and 12th grade students' conceptualizations of climate change, Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, vol. 41, no. 4, pp.10

Schuster, Dwight A; Filippelli, Gabriel; Wood, Elee J; Nelson, Jennifer A; Sharp, Janet; Judith, Solchik, 2009, GPS: geoscience partnership study, Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, vol. 41, no. 4, pp.26

Thomas, Christopher W, Nelson, Jennifer A., 2006, Designing an Online Science Lab Around Self-Paced Field Trips, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 7, p. 80

Nelson, J.A., and Licht, K.J., 2006, Deposition of Carbonate and Organic Matter in Holocene Lacustrine Sediment, Lower Michigan, USA. 10th International Paleolimnology Symposium, Duluth, Michigan.

Yansa, C., Rawling III, J.E., Nelson, J.A. Licht, K.J. and Young, A., 2006, Climate Changes in Southern Lower Michigan Over the Last 2000 Years: Differentiating Between "Lake Effect" and Regional Climate Patterns. American Quaternary Association (AMQUA) 2006 Biennial Meeting, Bozeman, Montana.

Sembach, J.A., and Licht, K.J., 2005, Preliminary geochemical analyses of Late Holocene lacustrine sediment from south-central Michigan. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 37, no. 5.

Sembach, J.A., and Licht, K.J., Controls on particle size distributions in three central Indiana Reservoirs, 2004 NCUR Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Sembach, J.A., Licht, K.J. and Yansa, C.H., 2004, Evidence for climate change since the last glacial maximum: A Multi-proxy study of Duck Lake, South-Central Michigan. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 36, No. 5, p. 499.

Licht, K.J., Sembach, J.A., Jordan, B. and Lowell, T., 2004, Preliminary analysis of paleoenvironmental records from two NE Indiana wetlands since the LGM. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 36, No. 5, p. 531.

Licht, K.J., Swope, R.J. and Sembach, J.A., 2002, Glacial Debris and Rock Identification: A Collaborative Research Project: The PGI Geology Standard, Vol. 10, No. 3, p. 4-5.

Swope, R.J., Licht, K.J., and Sembach, J., 2002. Reconstructing Indiana's Glacial History in Collaboration with Local Middle School Students. GSA Abstracts with Programs Vol. 34, No. 6, p. 522.

Professional Affiliations

  • National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)
  • IUPUI Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) Faculty
  • IUPUI Institute for Engaged Learning (IEL)
  • IUPUI MOSAIC Faculty Fellow
  • IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Advisory Board

Honors, Awards and Grants


  • IUPUI Trustees Teaching Award, 2012 and 2016
  • IUPUI Athletics Favorite Professor, 2017


  • MOSAIC Faculty Fellows, 2016, UITS and IU
  • 3D Camera and Digital Image Library, 2015, School of Science Student Tech Grant
  • Learning Environments Grant for SL008 Renovation, 2012, IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning
  • IUPUI-iPad Faculty Learning Community, 2010, UITS and IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Indiana University Faculty Podcasting Initiative, 2008, IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Jump Start Online Course Development Grant, 2007, IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning


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