Skip to main content

You are here

Jennifer Cole

Jennifer Cole
Assistant Professor
Tower 601

Jennifer Cole is concurrently on the faculty in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Boston College and the Harvard Graduate School of Sustainability. Prior to that, Dr. Cole was on the faculty at Harvard University in Earth and Planetary Sciences, and had been Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Northeastern University for fifteen years. She has also taught at Tufts University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Cole has published extensively in the fields of wetlands, agriculture, and energy education and has written books on natural disasters. She holds a PhD in earth sciences specializing in groundwater geochemistry from Syracuse University. She is currently working on research papers on the sustainability ramifications of meat consumption in China.

She also has a career in the environmental consulting field, serving as 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., and is principal at her own private consulting firm, Rivers Consulting.

She 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.

Ph.D. - Earth Science, Syracuse University; MS - Smith College; MS - Environmental Science, Bard College; BS - Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Professional Experience: 
  • Liberal Arts Curriculum Committee, MassArt - 3 years
  • Served as both a Session Chair and a Faculty Advisor at the 23rd Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference, April 28, 2017 at UMass Amherst
  • Developed a Professional Studies Sustainability Certificate for Boston College (Woods)
  • Data sharing and consulting program for Ivy League colleges, Department of Education, US Government
  • Conservation Commission Town Hydrogeologist and Expert Witness, Town of Hingham, MA
  • River Protection Act, Wetlands WPI, Amesbury, MA
  • Consultant, Town of Foxborough
  • Senior Hydrologist, Weston & Sampson Engineers, Inc.
  • X-Ray Diffraction Analyst, Stearns & Wheeler, Syracuse, NY

Selected Publications and Presentations


  • 2019 - Rivers Cole, J., "Sustainability of Animal Husbandry and Consumption in China.  Boston College Undergraduate Research Conference," Boston Massachusetts, March 23, 2019
  • 2019 - Rivers Cole, J., "The Economic and Sustainability Repercussions of Meat Consumption in China." Geological Society of America Section Meeting, Portland, Maine, March 16-20 2019
  • 2019 - Rivers Cole., J and Dooley, P., "Greening Trade Shows in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Industries." 2019 World Summit Conference, Philadelphia, PA, February 23-26, 2019
  • 2018 - Rivers Cole, J., "Unsustainability of Global Meat Consumption and Viable Alternatives." Association of Environmental Science and Studies Annual Meeting, Gibsonia, PA, June 3 – 8, 2018
  • 2018 - Rivers Cole, J.  "Animal Husbandry: Problems and Solutions. National Council for Science and the Environment Annual Meeting (CEDD)," Washington, DC, June 16 – 18, 2018
  • 2017 - Rivers Cole, J. and Suzanne K. McCoskey, "The Impact of China's Increase in Meat Consumption on Global Climate Change: Questions of Economic Growth, International Trade, and Sustainability" in Strongly Sustainable Societies: Organizing Human Activities on a Hot and Full Earth, International Society for Environmental Ethics
  • 2017 - "The Campus Wells Program: Preserving and Re-Tasking Monitoring wells in Boston, MA from campus construction for environmental educational purposes," Case Studies in the Environment, May 2017, DOI:
  • 2014 - Rivers Cole, J. and S. McCoskey, "Does Meat Consumption Follow a Kuznets Curve? Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy," Special Issue, Sustainable Food Consumption: Current Trends, Policy Approaches, and Future Scenarios (invited paper) Summer 2013, Volume 9, Issue 2
  • 2014 - J. H Perkins, D. Blockstein, J. Rivers Cole, R. H. Knapp, C. Middlecamp, K. M. Saul, and S. Vincent, "Teaching and Learning about Energy: An Unprecedented Need for Change," Journal of Environmental Science and Studies, Volume 32, Issue 2, 14 October 2014 
  • 2013 - Rivers Cole, J. and A. Govindarajan. "Experiential Marine Science Education: Integrating Course and Field Experiences in the Department of Earth & Environmental Science," Northeastern University. (Abs) Cape to Cape: In the Hub of Marine Education. National Marine Educators Association Annual Conference. June 27-July 3, 2011
  • 2008 - Rivers Cole, J. "Integrating Water Management for a Secure Water Future: Urban Hydrogeological Issues" (abs) Massachusetts Water Research Center and UMass Extension 5th Annual Conference. Abstracts with Programs. 8 April 2008
  • 2008 - Rivers Cole, J. "Using an Inner City Setting as the Format for a Hydrogeology Curriculum" (abs) AAG Annual Meeting, Abstracts with Programs. 15 April 2008. 
  • 2007 - Rivers Cole, J. "Groundwater in the Back Bay, An integrative learning tool" (abs.) Geological Society of America National Meeting, Denver, Colorado, Abstracts with Programs Vol. 39, No. 6 
  • 2007 - Rivers Cole, J. "Bringing the Natural World into the Curriculum" (abs). Proceedings, Environmental Studies Summit, 2nd Annual Meeting, SUNY – Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, June 7
  • 2007 - Rivers Cole, J. S. and Rosen, P. S. "Back Bay Groundwater Monitoring and Declining Water Levels" (abs.), in, Faszewski, E. (ed.), Proceedings, Muddy River Research Symposium, Wheelock College, April 25
  • 2007 - Rosen, P. S. and Rivers Cole, J. "Changing Environmental Conditions Recorded in Back Bay Sediments," Boston, MA (abs.), in, Faszewski, E. (ed.), Proceedings, Muddy River Research Symposium, Wheelock College, April 25


  • 2018 - Rivers Cole, J. and McCoskey, S. Meat Consumption and the Environmental Unsustainability of Economic Growth: The case of China in Strongly Sustainable Societies: Organising Human Activities on a Hot and Full Earth, September 2018, ISBN: 9781351173643, Karl Johan Bonnedahl, editor. Routledge, 532 pp.
  • 2013 - Natural Disasters in a Global Environment, Anthony N. Penna and Jennifer S. Rivers, Wiley-Blackwell, New York, New York. ISBN: 978-1-118-25233-8
  • Wildfires: Earth in Action, Rebecca Rowell and Jennifer Rivers Cole, ABDO Publishing, Minneapolis, MN. ISBN:978-1-61783-943-6 
  • Volcanoes: Earth in Action, Lauren Coss and Jennifer Rivers Cole, ABDO Publishing, Minneapolis, MN. ISBN:978-1-61783-942-9 
  • Avalanches: Earth in Action, Wendy Lanier and Jennifer Rivers Cole, ABDO Publishing, Minneapolis, MN. ISBN: 978-1-61783-936-8 
  • Tornadoes: Earth in Action, Dale-Marie Bryan and Jennifer Rivers Cole, ABDO Publishing, Minneapolis, MN. ISBN: 978-1-61783-942-9

Awards and Honors

  • Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • 2015 - MassSaves Recycling Award – through Green Team, Roger Wellington School
  • Green Cup Mayor's Energy Challenge First Place –Green Alliance, Belmont, MA 
  • Northeastern University Provost’s Office Grant for Undergraduate Team Research, Conservation Complex in Costa Rica
  • 2010 - Northeastern University Dean’s Office Grant for Travel to Saratoga Springs
  • Nalgene student grant - Bike Share Program 
  • Sherman Fairchild Endowment grant for travel with students to Edmunds Maine 
  • 2008 - Sigma Delta Tau Outstanding Professor of 2008, Northeastern University
  • Sigma Delta Tau Outstanding Professor of Northeastern University 
  • Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award, Northeastern University 
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Northeastern University 
  • Presidential Aspiration Award, Northeastern University 
  • StudyWeb Academic Excellence Award for Web Notes of Natural Disasters Course 
  • Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award, Northeastern University 
  • 2000 - Teaching Fellow, Center for Effective University Teaching, Northeastern
  • Association for Women in Science Travel Grant to Toronto, Canada 
  • Newton E. Chute Award for Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year 
  • Research Assistantship, Syracuse University 
  • Teaching Assistantship, Syracuse University 
  • Graduate Student Association grant for travel to AGU meeting, San Francisco, CA 
  • Graduate Student Association grant for travel to National GSA meeting, New Orleans, LA 
  • Howard Hughes fellowship for research support in Belize, Central America 
  • Cutter House Fellow, Smith College

Professional Affiliations and Organizations

  • NE Estuarine Research Society 
  • Geological Society of America 
  • American Geophysical Union 
  • National Groundwater Association 
  • American Chemical Society 
  • Boston Society of Civil Engineers 
  • Society for Women Engineers 
  • Associate Member, Sigma-Xi Scientific Society 
  • Association for Women in Science 
  • International Society for Ecological Economics
View Resume: