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Cabrini students in lab coats in class
Carrie Nielsen

Caroline Nielsen, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology

The focus of Caroline Nielsen, PhD, research is Nitrogen. Although it is an important plant nutrient that can help to determine the productivity of entire ecosystems, an excess of nitrogen can be a dangerous environmental pollutant.

Nielsen's research examines how much nitrogen remains in various forms in land-based ecosystems, and how much is lost to the atmosphere and downstream bodies of water. She's particularly interested in how different urban and suburban land uses affect these nitrogen transformation processes.

Nielsen is also concerned with the health of local watersheds, including Crabby Creek, a tributary of Valley Creek that runs through Tredyffrin Township. She is a participant in the Collaborative Research-Watershed Citizenship Learning Community project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

The community collaboration allows students, faculty, and community members, to do real-world research that contributes directly to conservation efforts.

Nielsen earned a PhD in Geological and Environmental Sciences in 2006 from Stanford University, and a BS in Environmental Studies in 1998 from Brown University.

Areas of Expertise

Global warming, environmental health, childhood lead exposure, watershed management & stream water quality, faith perspectives on environmental issues

Publications

  • Nielsen, Caroline, Joanna F. DeFranco, and Eric Malm. (2015) Math, Science and Sustainability- Enhanced Career and Technology Education. Techniques. 90(3): 50-55.
  • Dunbar, David, Caroline Nielsen, Nancy Watterson, Janice Xu, Melissa Terlecki, Jenna Cardone, Lisa Ratmansky, Christina Medved, Susan Gill, and Owen Owens. (2014). A Cost Benefit Analysis from Instructor, Community Partner, and Student Perspectives: Cabrini College CBR Courses Merge Service, Education, and Research. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. 7: 25-36.
  • Malm, Eric, Nicholas Rademacher, Mary Harris, David Dunbar, Caroline Nielsen, Erin McLaughlin. (2013). Cultivating Community-Engaged Faculty: The Institution’s Role in Individual Journeys. Journal of Community Engagement in Higher Education. 5: 24-35.
  • Cessna, Jason and Caroline Nielsen. (2012). Influences of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid–Induced Stand-Level Mortality on Nitrogen Cycling and Stream Water Nitrogen Concentrations in Southern Pennsylvania. Castanea, 77(2):127-135.
  • Watterson, Nancy, Melissa Terlecki, David Dunbar, Lisa Ratmansky, Amy Persichetti , Caroline Nielsen, Kristen Travers & Susan Gill. (2011). Interdisciplinary community-based research: A sum of disparate parts. Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education. 3: 1.
  • Dunbar, David and Caroline Nielsen. (2010). Development of a DNA Bar-coding Project as a Biology Laboratory Module. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. 11: 160-161.
  • Terlecki, Melissa, David Dunbar, Caroline Nielsen, Cynthia McGauley, Lisa Ratmansky, Nancy L. Waterson, John Hannum, Kallyn Seidler, Emily Bongiorno, Owen Owens, Pete Goodman, Chuck Marshall, Susan Gill, Kristen Travers, and John Jackson.  (2010). The Crabby Creek Initiative: Building and Sustaining An Interdisciplinary Community Partnership. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. 3: 40-50
  • Allison, Steven D., Caroline B. Nielsen, and R. Flint Hughes.  (2006).  Elevated enzyme activities in soils under the invasive nitrogen-fixing tree Falcataria moluccana.  Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 38: 1537-1544.
  • Nielsen, Caroline B., Peter M. Groffman, Stephen P. Hamburg, Charles T. Driscoll, Timothy J. Fahey, and Janet P. Hardy.  (2001). Freezing effects on carbon and nitrogen cycling in northern hardwood forest soils.  Soil Science Society of America Journal  65: 1723-1730.

Presentations

  • Nielsen, Caroline, Anne Coleman, and Kimberly Boyd. Using School Facilities as a Laboratory for Studying Sustainability Science. National Science Teachers Association Orlando Area Conference. Orlando, FL, November 6-8, 2014.
  • Coleman, Anne, Caroline Nielsen, and Kimberly Boyd. Addressing Complexity of Energy Flow in an Ecosystem Using an Active Hands-On Model. National Science Teachers Association Orlando Area Conference. Orlando, FL, November 6-8, 2014. 
  • Nielsen, Caroline and Anne Coleman. Paperclip Transcription/Translation. Montgomery County Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting. Souderton, PA, October 30, 2014. 
  • Coleman, Anne and Caroline Nielsen. Paperclip Neurons. Montgomery County Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting. Souderton, PA, October 30, 2014. 
  • Cross, Trevor, David Shade, and Caroline Nielsen. A New Method to Measure the Effect of Phages on Bacterial Carbon Mineralization in Soil. Pennsylvania Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Selinsgrove, PA, March 21-23, 2014.
  • Malm, Eric, Caroline Nielsen, Robert Iodice and Howard Holden. Sustainability and Values at a Small Catholic College. Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium Annual Meeting, University Park, PA, October 29, 2013.
  • Nielsen, Caroline B., and D. Eric Malm. Faith-Based Mission as a Foundation for Sustainability Work. Smart & Sustainable Campuses Conference, Bethesda, MD, April 15-16, 2013.
  • Nielsen, Caroline and Anne Coleman. Paperclip Pedagogy: Hands-on-Environmental Science Activities. Montgomery County Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting. Souderton, PA, October 24, 2013.
  • Coleman, Anne and Caroline Nielsen. Paperclip Pedagogy: Hands-on Biology Activities. Montgomery County Science Teachers Association Annual Meeting. Souderton, PA, October 24, 2013.
  • Nielsen, Caroline and Anne Coleman. School as Environmental Laboratory: Examining the Impacts of our Resource Use. French International School of Philadelphia Fall Teacher In-Service Training. Philadelphia, PA, October 17, 2012.
  • Nielsen, Caroline, David Dunbar, Christina Medved, and Susan Gill.  Collaborative assessment: measuring effects of community-based participatory research on student learning. SoTL Commons: A Conference for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Savannah, GA, March 7-9, 2012.
  • Coleman, Anne and Caroline Nielsen. Paperclip Pedagogy: Hands-On Environmental Science Activities, Easy and Cheap. National Science Teachers Association 60th National Conference on Science Education, Indianapolis, IN, March 29–April 1, 2012
  • Nielsen, Caroline and Anne Coleman. Paperclip Pedagogy: Hands-On Environmental Science Activities, Easy and Cheap. North American Association For Environmental Education annual meeting, Raleigh, NC, Oct 12-15, 2011.
  • Terlecki, Melissa, David Dunbar, and Caroline Nielsen. Assessing Interdisciplinary, Community-based Research Outcomes for Course Development, Implementation and Improvement. Council on Undergraduate Research Annual Meeting, Ogden, Utah, June, 2010.
  • Dunbar, David, Melissa Terlecki, and Caroline Nielsen. Developing, Implementing, and Improving Interdisciplinary, Community-Based Research. American Association of Colleges & Universities Conference on Faculty Roles in High-Impact Practices, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March, 2010.
  • Nielsen, Caroline, and Pamela Matson. The effects of nitrogen fertilization and high-nitrogen leaf litter addition on the composition and function of soil microbial communities.  Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  August, 2005.
  • Nielsen, Caroline, and Pamela Matson. The influence of nitrogen-fixing trees on the composition and function of soil microbial communities.  Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, Oregon.  August, 2004.
  • Nielsen, Caroline, and Pamela Matson. Differences in soil characteristics and microbial community composition among forest, pasture, and Koa plantation in Hawaii. Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.  November, 2003.
  • Nielsen, Caroline, and Pamela Matson. Differences in soil microbial community composition among forest, pasture, and Koa plantation in Hawaii.  Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Tucson, Arizona.  August, 2002.

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