Chelsea L. Cervantes de Blois, PhD

About Me

Chelsea Lissette Cervantes de Blois is the current U.S. Department of State's Climate Security Specialist in The Office of the Geographer and Global Issues. She has ten years of experience in research and collaboration on climate and environmental focused projects. Chelsea Lissette has dedicated her professional career to climate focused policies and diplomacy in service of the global community.

Chelsea Lissette has a PhD from the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities' Department of Geography, Environment and Society (GES) with specializations in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS), Cartography, Remote Sensing, and Population/Demography studies (2021). She has also completed her minor in Demography expertise from the Graduate Trainee Program in Spring 2020 at the Minnesota Population Center (MPC).

Additionally, Chelsea Lissette has independently funded her fieldwork and dissertation research via several fellowships, grants, and scholarships (see "Awards, Honors & Funding" tab). Prior to her work at the University of Minnesota, she was in Azerbaijan (2014-2015) as a Fulbright Fellow, followed by her independent work as an Agricultural Consultant in Serbia and Kyrgyzstan.


The utilization of spatial analysis and data visualization is at the core of Chelsea Lissette's methodology which has been recognized and honored by the academic, federal, and private sectors.

To name a few, she has been funded by USGIF GEOINT scholarship (2019-2022), awarded the Best Poster Award in 2019 from the Population Association of America (PAA) and the best student paper and poster awards from the American Association of Geographers (AAG)'s Cartography & Eurasian Specialty Groups at the annual meetings (2017-2020) for her innovative approach to combine census and/or conflict data, satellite imagery, environmental/climate data in addition to in-country fieldwork in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

Climate Change

Prior to Chelsea Lissette's time at the University of Minnesota she worked on the U.S. State Department's Special Envoy for Climate Change, with Todd Stern followed by her role as a visiting Climate Change Researcher at CGIAR to publish three World Bank reports focused on Mexico's Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA).

During Chelsea Lissette's PhD program she worked at the United Nations Development Program UNDP office in Baku, Azerbaijan where she worked on environmental and climate projects.

Chelsea Lissette also was a delegate for the Stanford U.S. - Russia Forum (SURF) where she collaborated and published with the Climate and Environmental Working Group with scientists from Stanford University's Earth System Science Faculty, Moscow's National Research University Higher School of Economics Faculty, and Moscow State University's Geology Faculty (2017-2018). The impact of her collaboration lead to an invitation to present with her collaborators the impacts of permafrost degradation on high latitude communities in Alaska and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in Northwestern Siberia for Vladimir Barbin, the Senior Arctic Official of the Russian Federation, and for Antoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador to United States.


Chelsea Lissette was advised by Prof. Steven M Manson and was also a member of Dr. Manson's Human Environment Geographic Information Sciences Lab (HEGIS). During her time at the Minnesota Population Center (MPC) she was a Graduate Research Assistant with Associate Professor Carolyn Liebler who worked on creating a population projection of American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) communities (2020-2021) and was an MPC Diversity Fellow (Summer 2016), who worked on the IPUMS Terra project: data of populations and the environment.

Chelsea Lissette's expertise in Geosciences and Demography has given her the skillset to apply her quantitative expertise in Eurasia, coupled with her language skills (Russian, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Persian) funded by the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) in Baku, Azerbaijan (2019); the Boren Fellow in Azerbaijan (2017-2018), the Title VIII from the U.S. State Department in St. Petersburg, Russia (2017); and several Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships. Her research and specialization focused is on the use of spatial sciences and demographic methods while approaching complex human-environmental systems in data-sparse regions, specifically in the Caucasus and Central Asia.