Environmental justice takes the stage at Diversity in SCIENCE seminar
CLEMSON – Mila K. Marshall, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Illinois-Chicago, was the featured speaker at the Nov. 13 installment of the Diversity in SCIENCE Seminar Series.
Marshall earned her B.S. degree in environmental biology with dual minors in chemistry and geography from Chicago State University in 2009 and has since focused her doctoral studies on understanding the impact of industrial and vehicular emissions in Chicago’s urban agricultural economy.
Her lecture, titled “Urban Ecology: What This Means for Communities of Color,” explored how segregated, inequitable social systems in Great Lakes cities are affected by population growth due to climate change.
Infused with anecdotes about her upbringing in the city of Chicago and her experiences in higher education, Marshall’s talk addressed the limitations faced by minority communities as their cities adapt to a mounting demand for energy and healthy food – an area of advocacy she calls “socioecological justice.”
“It’s hard for me to pick between addressing the natural world as well as humans, because I love all beings, so urban ecology is a nice integrator of the two. But then there’s also the environmental justice component. Being able to come at these issues from a systems perspective lends itself to creating more information about understanding inequity from both the natural world and the human side. Getting at it from both angles makes me very happy, and it’s a perspective I hope will become more frequent in the future,” Marshall said.
The seminar was well attended by interested faculty, staff and students across the university. Students said they appreciated Marshall for the “realness” of her story and the impact that her work is having.
Marshall was the third speaker in the Diversity in SCIENCE Seminar Series since its establishment this past September. The series is supported by the College of Science, COSMIC Science Peer Support, the SCIENCE Student Advisory Board, as well as Undergraduate Student Government’s Council of Diversity Affairs.
For questions about the series, contact College of Science recruiting program coordinator Sharetta Bufford.