Headshot of Dr. Jessica Mikels

Dr. Jessica Mikels

Environmental Sociologist, Instructor

Dr. Jessica Mikels is an environmental sociologist who has worked with local, state, and national government agencies, NGOs, and formal and informal education institutions on environmental education, environmental justice, and conservation-focused projects – working both as an independent consultant and as a senior social scientist with DJ Case & Associates. Using a justice-focused lens, Jessica seeks to understand how issues of culture and access influence relationships with the natural world. She applies these understandings to righting environmental injustices and addressing complex socio-environmental problems.

Jessica received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame where she conducted research on the environmental sociology of children. She created and ran a neighborhood ecology program for kids in an underserved neighborhood and has worked with informal science centers to better understand museum visit impacts on socio-psychological variables, such as identity and attitudes, towards nature in visitors. Jessica worked with interdisciplinary teams at USGS Climate Science Centers to address complex issues at the intersection of ecology and society in addressing threats from climate change.

Creative thinking, interdisciplinarity, and a democratic approach to knowledge production is the hallmark of her work. Einstein stated, “We cannot solve our problems with the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” For Jessica, this means that understanding how we think about an issue, our epistemologies and our biases, is key to addressing the complexity of environmental problems in the Anthropocene.