Dr. Benson was appointed to the position of Director of Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project in January 2009 after holding the Executive Director post since March 2007. A Professor (Research) in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) in the School of Earth Sciences, Benson has been a member of Stanford’s faculty since 2007. Her research group in ERE investigates fundamental characteristics of carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations as a means of climate change mitigation. She teaches courses on carbon dioxide capture and storage and greenhouse gas mitigation technologies.
Prior to completing a four-year term as deputy director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2004, Benson served as LBNL's associate director for energy sciences and as director of its Earth Sciences Division. She graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in geology. She completed her graduate education in 1988 at the University of California-Berkeley after receiving master's and doctoral degrees, both in materials science and mineral engineering.
A member of the American Geophysical Union and the Society of Petroleum Engineers, Benson has served on numerous committees including the Stanford University Earth Sciences Advisory Board. She is author or co-author of more than 160 scientific publications.