Emily Ca.


Growing up, Emily spent time outdoors exploring mineral collecting sites throughout New England and attending rock and mineral expositions with her family - which sparked an early interest in geology. In 5th grade, her parents bought the movie Dante’s Peak, which is loosely based on the May 18th eruption of Mt St Helens – and from then on, she was hooked on volcanoes! She loved that a geologist, specifically one who studies volcanoes, could investigate an active volcano by collecting samples of rocks, water, and gas. She attended the University of Delaware for her BS, Washington State University (WSU) for her MS., and Portland State University (PSU) for her PhD. Her doctoral research explores flood basalt volcanism sourced from the Yellowstone plume, the same body of magma that is underneath Yellowstone National Park today. This work has led to research on gemstones found almost exclusively in Oregon. Emily has also worked for over five years as a geologist in the field of environmental consulting and mining. At one point, Emily lived on a boat for over two months studying lava flows on the ocean floor. She is passionate about fieldwork, as getting your boots-on-the-ground is key in gaining geologic context. 

Emily has taught at the college level for more than six years, with exposure to six distinct courses. Emily has also taught upper level geology courses and modified the curriculum to include an economic and mineral resources component. These experiences have prepared her to teach a variety of introductory and advanced science courses, and she is in the process of completing a creative new teaching program at PSU to obtain a Certificate of Innovation in College Teaching. She has also explored other evidence-based instructional methods through teaching introductory geology courses at a local community college, and consulting with the Community College Research Center at the Teachers College, Columbia University.

Outside of geology, Emily enjoys hiking, camping, and visiting small towns in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, munchkin cat, and corgi. She loves to travel and hopes to visit all the U.S. National Parks!

Education & Qualifications


  • Portland State University School of the Environment, PhD Candidate in Igneous Petrology/ Geochemistry/ Volcanology
  • Portland State University Office of Academic Innovation, Certificate of Innovation in College Teaching
  • Portland State University School of the Environment, MS in Geology
  • University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, BS in Geology
  • Environmental Science
  • Geology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics