Environmental Justice, Ecology and Race
The 8th annual Environmental Science and Design Research Symposium began Thursday evening at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center. The symposium is co-presented by Kent State's Environmental Design and Research Institute (ESDRI) and the Kent State Anti-Racism and Equity Institute (AREI), with the theme of “Environmental Justice, Ecology and Race.”
A showcase of environmental research
One of the most engaging parts of the symposium is the poster presentation, which features some of the most innovative research that’s happening in our region. Nearly 40 researchers will present and describe their research projects.
Presenters include undergraduate and graduate students from Kent State as well as Kent State faculty and staff. Several graduate students from other universities and a community member also will participate.
The symposium’s plenary session featured American environmental sociologist Dorceta E. Taylor, Ph.D., as keynote speaker. She is known for her work on both environmental justice and racism in the environmental movement and has written several acclaimed books on the subject.
She is the senior associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Yale School of the Environment, as well as a professor of environmental justice. Previously, Taylor was the director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Michigan's School of Environment and Sustainability, where she also served as the James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor of Environmental Justice.
Subjects of Taylor's research have included environmental history, environmental justice, environmental policy, leisure and recreation, gender and development, urban affairs, race relations, collective action and social movements, green jobs, diversity in the environmental field, food insecurity and urban agriculture.
Taylor's presentation addressed the theme of this year's symposium, "Environmental Justice, Ecology and Race."
In explaining the focus of her studies, she said, "When we think about environment, we have to think of all the people, the totality of people involved in it, and look beyond just the most obvious pieces. So think about how race, class, gender play into both people's contributions, but how we understand the broader environmental narratives and how we understand how we think about environment, historically and today."
A reception with Taylor followed her presentation, with introductions and conversation.
Friday’s schedule and upcoming research events
On the second day of the symposium, activities include a morning presentation with remarks by Oscar Rocha, Ph.D., an associate professor in Kent State’s Department of Biological Sciences, and announcement of the poster winners, two speaker presentations with moderated panel discussions and workshop sessions. A full itinerary is available on the event page.
On Monday, April 17, many of the undergraduate researchers at this symposium will also be displaying their posters in the Kent Student Center Ballroom as Kent State’s Office of Student Research presents its annual Undergraduate Symposium on Research, Science and Creative Endeavors. April 17-21 is National Undergraduate Research Week.
The high level of research activity on Kent State's campuses has earned the university the prestigious R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. R1 status is the highest recognition that doctoral universities can receive, and Kent State is one of only five universities in Ohio to have earned it. At Kent State, students are able to participate in meaningful research, working side-by-side with university researchers, as early as their first year of classes.
Header photo of Dorceta Taylor, photo credit Julia Hallgren