Affiliated Researchers

PPEH is delighted to welcome our first Affiliated Researchers cohort of academically based researchers and community partners to participate in a year of conversations focusing squarely on environmental and climate justice, with the goal of continuing the work to connect regional experts–both academically and community-based–in the fields of energy, air, land, and water justices. 


Dr. Di Chiro sits for a portrait wearing wire-rimmed glasses and gray clothing in front of a red backdrop.


Giovanna Di Chiro is Professor of Environmental Studies at Swarthmore College where she teaches courses on environmental justice theory, ecofeminism(s), and community sustainability, and coordinates the program on Environmental Justice and Climate Resilience. Di Chiro has published widely on the issues of human rights, food security, and environmental and climate justice. She is completing a book titled Worldmaking from the Ground Up: The Praxis of Environmental Justice.

Dr. Lane looks smiling into the camera from a field. She has long brown hair and a blue short sleeve shirt.


Isabel Lane is a literary scholar, teacher, and abolitionist. Her work in and beyond the university focuses on the intersections of literature and environmental harm—from nuclear weapons and waste to the complex interrelationships between prisons and the environments they contain, about, and with which they are enmeshed.

Dr. Lewis is looking off to the left as they stand in on the shore of a body of water. They are wearing a blue hat and jacket, and an orange scarf.

Dr. Mel Lewis is the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at American Rivers. Previously, Dr. Mel was Associate Professor and Director of the Ecosystems, Sustainability, and Justice Program and Project Director for the Natural Dye Initiative at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). They also co-founded of The Space for Creative Black Imagination: An Interdisciplinary Research and Making Institute and Chaired the Humanistic Studies Department in their time at MICA. Previously, Dr. Mel served as Director of the transdiciplinary Center for Geographies of Justice and Associate Professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies at Goucher College. Their roles have also included Associate Professor and Director of Ethnic Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California, Interim Executive director of the National Women’s Studies Association, and DEI Consultant/ Collaborator with The Art of Change Agency, supporting critical voices and creative visions for sustainable practice, structural change, and social transformation within organizations, institutions, and communities. 

Gwen Ottinger looks smiling at the camera. She has long light hair and a blue suit.

Gwen Ottinger is Associate Professor at Drexel University, in the Department of Politics and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society. She directs the Fair Tech Collective, a research group that uses social science theory and methods to promote social justice in science and technology. She has received a CAREER award from the U.S. National Science Foundation for her research on “Environmental Justice and the Ethics of Science and Technology,” and the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science for her book, Refining Expertise: How Responsible Engineers Subvert Environmental Justice Challenges. Ottinger was an ACLS-Burkhardt Fellow and a 2020-2021 Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In 2022, she was the Fulbright Research Chair at the Institute for Science, Society, and Policy at the University of Ottawa. Ottinger is working on a new book, The Science of Repair: How People who Care about Facts Should Work for Social Justice.