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College of Arts & Sciences
School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment


Education, Professional Experience & Biography

BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson is a College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor in the Marine Science Program and Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences at the University of South Carolina.  Her research focuses on the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus and carbon and how these elements are influenced by both natural and anthropogenic processes.  She is a diverse scientist, with expertise ranging from radiochemistry to harmful algal bloom toxins and is highly regarded for her cross-disciplinary research.  Over the past two decades, Dr. Benitez-Nelson has authored or co-authored more than 90 papers, including lead author publications in the journals Science and Nature. She has been continuously supported by substantial, multi-year research and education grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among others.  Her many research honors include the Early Career Award in Oceanography from the American Geophysical Union in 1996, Fulbright and Marie Curie Fellowships in 2008, and was named a National Academies of Science/Humboldt Foundation Kavli Fellow in 2012.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson is also highly regarded as a teacher and mentor, having received the National Faculty of the Year Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in 2005 and the University of South Carolina’s Mungo Teaching Award in 2006.  In 2013, Dr. Benitez-Nelson was named the University of South Carolina’s Distinguished Professor of the Year and in 2014 received the Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring from the Biogeosciences Section of the American Geophysical Union.  In 2015, she was named a Fellow of the American Assoication for the Advancement of Science.  At the University of South Carolina, Dr. Benitez-Nelson served as both the Undergraduate Director and Director of USC’s Marine Science Program, doubling undergraduate enrollment and increasing the number of faculty.  She is regularly called upon by national and international scientific and policy agencies for her expertise and currently serves or has served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Geoscience Directorate of NSF, the EPA Science Advisory Board, and the National Academy of Science’s Ocean Studies Board.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson earned a B.S. in chemistry and oceanography from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program in 1999.

EDUCATION 

Ph.D.

Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, Sep. 1993 - Feb. 1999
   Thesis Title: Phosphorus cycling in the Gulf of Maine: A Multi-tracer Approach
   Advisor: Dr. Ken Buesseler (Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry)

B.S. Chemistry, University of Washington, 1987 - 1992
B.S.

Oceanography (Chemical), University of Washington, 1987 - 1992

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

2012 - present College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor of Marine Science, University of South Carolina
2010 - present Professor, Marine Science Program & Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences (formerly Geological Sciences), University of South Carolina
2010 - 2013 Director, Marine Science Program, University of South Carolina
2006 - 2010 Associate Professor with tenure, Marine Science Program & Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences (formerly Geological Sciences), University of South Carolina
2005 - 2008 Director of Undergraduate Studies, Marine Science Program, University of South Carolina
2002 - 2006 Assistant Professor, Marine Science Program & Department of Geological Sciences, University of South Carolina
1999 - 2005 Associate Faculty, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii
1998 - 2001 SOEST Young Investigator/Assistant Researcher, University of Hawaii
1998 - 2000 NOAA/UCAR Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate and Global Change, University of Hawaii
1993 - 1998 Graduate Research Assistant, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
1996 Teaching Assistant, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
1991 Summer Student Fellow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
1989 - 1991 Undergraduate Research Assistant, University of Washington