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Dr. Karen Bailey

Principal Investigator / Lab Leader
Email: Karen.bailey@colorado.edu
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Dr. Karen Bailey is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies

Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is a systems

researcher interested in understanding how human-environment

interactions impact human health, well-being, and natural resources. 


She completed her Ph.D. in 2018 in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Florida (McCleery Lab) and a postdoctoral appointment at The University of Colorado Boulder in the Environmental Studies Department (Hartter Lab) in 2020. 


She is interested in sustainable livelihoods, wildlife conservation, global

change, and coupled human-natural systems. She also has a strong

commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in

environmental work and STEM more broadly. 

Learn more about me via the links below! 

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Natalie Bennett

Doctoral Student

Natalie is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Studies department.

Broadly, her work probes the human dimensions of climate change risk

management and adaptation. Her current research focuses on wildfire risk

and addresses the need for at-risk individuals and communities to live

safely with fire, a naturally occurring ecosystem process, while also

adapting to changing fire regimes and heightened wildfire risks due to

climate change. 


Before entering graduate school, Natalie gained experience working on climate adaptation and vulnerability planning, climate change communication, and stakeholder engagement in decision-making processes in both the public and private sectors. On campus, Natalie is the President of CU Women in Science and Engineering. 

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Emma Galofré García (She/Her/Ella)

Doctoral Student

Emma is a PhD student in the Environmental Studies Department, where she is interested in justice-informed wildlife and environmental conservation and its intersection with decolonization. Her academic interests include wildlife ecology, conservation, Indigenous studies, environmental and ecological justice, and public policy.

In addition to her Bachelor's in Wildlife Ecology and Master's in Public Policy, Emma has over a decade of experience in conservation, including working on projects domestically and abroad with an array of bird and mammal species in various habitats and with diverse human communities and stakeholders.

Emma is also committed to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (JEDIA) within and outside her focus areas, including in the conservation and academic communities. Emma currently serves as an individual member of Next 100 Colorado and as an Outings Leader with Latino Outdoors. Outside of her studies, Emma enjoys reconnecting to the land, whether by herself, with family, or with her community, through hiking, climbing, birding, or SUPing.

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Tyler Nuckols

Doctoral Student

Tyler researches human-elephant interactions around Kui Buri National Park in Thailand. They seek to understand conflict events through social-ecological systems science to gather a holistic picture of the challenges occurring in these edge agroecosystems. Inedible crops are the non-violent mitigation mechanism used to evaluate changes in both species' tolerance, behavior, and well-being.


Tyler received a BS in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University (and an MS in Global Environmental Leadership from Colorado State University (Salerno Lab). Outside of academia, Tyler has nearly a decade of experience as a conservation and environmental practitioner, communicator, and community organizer. 

Tyler has a strong commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) and anti-racism within and outside their research in both the conservation and academic arenas. In their free time, Tyler enjoys tending their house plants and spending time with their two dogs (Delilah and Elie) and partner.

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Kathryn Sullivan

Doctoral Student

Kathryn is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Studies department. She is broadly interested in environmental justice. Her work focuses on the intersection of climate change and vulnerable communities and populations.


Kathryn recently earned her B.S. at the University of Michigan in Environment and Biology, Health, and Society. Before entering graduate school, she gained experience working for the American Meteorological Society. In her role, she researched climate change risks and hazards and their relationship to socioeconomic inequality in the Great Lakes Region. Outside of her studies, Kathryn enjoys hiking and reading.


Elizabeth Bannister

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 

Elizabeth Bannister is pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is currently in her senior year, majoring in Geography with a minor in French and a certificate in Public Health. Elizabeth is passionate about community and global resilience to natural hazards and is particularly interested in the implications of hazardous events on various populations. 


In the future, she plans on teaching English as a second language in France and returning to the U.S. to continue her education and pursue a doctorate in climate sciences. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys going on adventures, trying not to kill her beloved plants, and tries to pet as many dogs as possible.

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Dr. Sarah Walker

Postdoctoral Scholar

Sarah’s research uses an environmental justice lens to investigate the role well-being can play in helping us better understand people’s relationships with their environments. Specifically, she studies human well-being in the context of climate resilience and adaptation in vulnerable communities around the world.


Sarah received her Ph.D. from Colorado State University, and in addition to her work as a postdoctoral researcher at CU, she works as a part-time faculty member at Colorado State University. Sarah’s dissertation used community-based participatory methodologies to investigate the well-being and adaptive capacity of pastoral women in Northern Kenya. She’s an avid hiker and cyclist and loves being in the classroom with students.

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Tess Jason

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 

Tess is an undergraduate student at CU Boulder, majoring in Political Science. She is collaborating with Professor Bailey on a project investigating diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, emphasizing the impacts of stereotype threat and self-efficacy on racial minority groups.


In addition to her interests in racial diversity and inclusion, she is passionate about animal rights and the exploitation of the environment. 


In her free time, Tess enjoys painting, drawing, and playing with her two dogs. Her future aspirations include pursuing a career in civil rights law
and becoming an animal rights activist.

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Riley Jenkins

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 

Riley is an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Environmental Studies Department. She is focused on environmental planning, regulatory processes, freshwater resources, and the intersection between mental health and the outdoors. 


Her time at CU has been people-focused; she dedicates time to inter-fraternal connections, scholarly activities, and sustainability outreach efforts for the CU sorority and fraternity community and volunteering with local nonprofit organizations.


Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more about her academic and professional pursuits. While not studying or working, Riley is either reading a book, binge-watching a new true-crime series, or spending time with her family and friends.

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Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee is an undergraduate student in the Linguistics and Geography programs at the University of Colorado Boulder. In addition to diversity and inclusion in the green sciences, she is passionate about language's role in identity construction and how we can better communicate about science at all scales.


Learn more about Jordan's work by checking out Unmask the Racism - a social media campaign that is working to raise awareness about anti-Asian American racism during COVID-19 and how Asian-owned businesses and restaurants are being impacted.


In her free time, you can find her trying a new recipe, listening to the latest Broadway musical, or making a linocut print. Jordan is also a

campaigns coordinator for GlobeMed at CU Boulder, which works to

forward global public health equity through education and collective action. ​

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 
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Shadia Nagati (She/Her)

After several years of following an unusual path, Shadia recently transferred to the Environmental Studies Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. She aims to work in wild space conservation with a focus on environmental justice.


Shadia is the Managing Editor for CU's Program for Writing and Rhetoric's creative nonfiction journals. You can find her writing in this fall's edition of Changing Skies, PWR's climate change print collaboration with nonprofit climate solution startup Mission Zero.

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 
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Anila Narayana

Anila is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, as well as a 2019 Boettcher Scholar. She is majoring in Geography, with Certificates in Public Health and Neuroscience. Anila is passionate about helping mitigate health inequities and environmental injustices, and she hopes to work with those that are affected by these issues at both local and global scales. She is also interested in researching the physical and mental health co-benefits of community-driven climate action, like the development of community and urban gardens. 


In the future, Anila aspires to become a physician with a keen understanding of how patients’ physical and social environments influence their well-being. In her free time, Anila enjoys adding to her growing number of houseplants and completing the New York Times crossword (or at least trying to).

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 
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Karla Pineda Velez

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 

Karla is an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in Sociology and Environmental Studies. She is interested in learning about how people interact with the environment and how environmental issues impact diverse communities. She is passionate about the environmental justice movement and looks at climate change from a social justice perspective.


In the future, Karla hopes to work directly with people and communities to address environmental issues and injustices. She is currently an undergraduate student assistant at CIRES Education & Outreach, where she supports various projects focused on education and outreach using research in environmental science.

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Julianna Rohn

Research Assistant

Julianna is a recent CU grad with BAs in Geography and Sociology and is excited to join the WELS group to further her research skills.

Her academic interests lie in the intersections of societies, environments (built and natural), health, and justice, but almost anything relating to human and environmental wellbeing fascinates her. During undergrad, Julianna worked as a research assistant with Dr. Colleen Reid investigating mental health trends and green space in Denver neighborhoods.


Julianna currently works for Boulder County Housing and Human Services full-time, conducting eligibility assessments for programs such as medical and food assistance. In her spare time, she loves taking day trips around the Front Range, spending time outdoors, eating yummy foods, and reading!

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Michael Warren Cook

Research Assistant

Michael is a Ph.D. student in the Dept. of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder. He draws upon environmental Communication, environmental justice studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) to better understand everyday life and environmental politics (especially related to water). He received his MA in Communication from CU Boulder and his BA in History from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT. 

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Levi Van Pelt

Undergraduate Student
Research Assistant 

Levi Van Pelt is an undergraduate student in the Environmental Studies and Philosophy programs at the University of Colorado Boulder. Focused on environmental justice and land ethics, Levi is interested in the human environment interface, particularly how people's lived experiences change their perception of the environment. Additionally, he is passionate about learning how one's personal or cultural relationships with the environment change how others view and treat them.


Levi hopes to pursue a career in sustainability and equitable access to natural resources/land, especially as it pertains to securing indigenous rights and freedoms. Outside of academia, he enjoys spending his time hiking, rock climbing, and bird watching.


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Marlee Akerson (She/Hers)

Marlee just finished up her time at CU, completing a certificate in Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical studies, and now plans to attend medical school. Throughout her tenure as a CU student, she has been involved in two research projects looking at the social and environmental determinants of health abroad (eSwatini) and locally (front range of Colorado). Additionally, she has been involved with Medical Students for a Sustainable Future and the Climate Resources for Health Initiative, two international organizations working to incorporate environmental health and environmental justice into medical school curriculums. She is passionate about understanding the dynamic and complicated ways climate change, public health, and medicine interact with each other and hopes to continue working in this realm throughout medical school and after. She is extremely grateful to Dr. Bailey and the entire WELS lab for cultivating a wonderful space of inclusivity, curiosity, and growth. She also finally learned what a p-value actually is. The next step is learning if it is pronounced chai-squared or ki-squared. 

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Jensen Miller (They/Them)

​Jensen Miller graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2021 with two degrees in Ecology and Sociology. Their honors thesis investigated Indigenous perceptions of the natural world, (and how these relationships are affected by context), and their academic interests at CU centered on how environmental change affects marginalized groups and cultural constructions of nature. Outside of academia they have worked with various grassroots environmental groups to fight for clean air and water in Colorado and would like to work in conservation on an international scale.

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Liane Minkler (She/Her)

Liane graduated magna cum laude from CU Boulder in 2022 with her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in English. Liane's Honors Thesis explored the relationship between outdoor spaces and mental health, focusing on the effect of the pandemic across urban and rural communities. Following graduation, she continues to work as a veterinary technician assistant in Louisville CO while beginning to look into pursuing jobs in the field of environmental law or public policy.

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Nicole Schroeter (She/Her)

Nicole graduated summa cum laude from CU Boulder in 2022 with dual degrees in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Anthropology, a minor in Leadership Studies, and a certificate in Animals & Society. Outside of classes, Nicole conducted research through both the WELS and Lambert labs, held science communication internships with conservation organizations including the Endangered Species Coalition and Glacier Rescue Project, and completed an honors thesis on behavior, ectoparasite loads, and personality in Bison. She now works as an Education Specialist at Denver Zoo where she continues to pursue a career in wildlife conservation.