Jennifer S. Carrera

Assistant Professor

Department of Sociology

Environmental Science and Policy Program

Michigan State University


Jennifer S. Carrera

Jennifer S. Carrera uses an environmental justice perspective to focus on differential access to environmental resources and its impact on the well-being of individuals in marginalized communities. She uses water as a lens through which to examine mechanisms of exclusion. Low-income populations face reduced water access, impaired water quality, and poor sanitation conditions that contribute to compromised environmental health, exacerbate chronic health conditions, provide entry for opportunistic infections, and increase the burden on the well-being of marginalized communities. Her work aims to 1) articulate the everyday practices that produce and reproduce environmental injustices and 2) provide communities with resources to make inequities visible. Her research builds on literature on the boundaries of citizenship to examine the emergence of politicized bodies within distinct socio-environmental contexts.

She is jointly appointed in the Department of Sociology and the Environmental Science and Policy Program and she is part of the campus-wide Global Water Initiative, which is intended to deepen, enrich, and foster collaboration across MSU’s expansive water scholarship on campus.

Dr. Carrera's work is organized around three dimensions: critical analyses of the human-environment, integrated approaches for low-cost technologies, and community capacity building. Through this work she hopes improve data translation within marginalized communities and direct technology design and policy initiatives towards integrated, sustainable solutions for improving access to environmental resources for low-income populations.

In 2018 Dr. Carrera was awarded a Transition to Independent Environmental Health Research Career Award (K01) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work with community partners in Flint, Michigan to develop low-cost technologies for understanding environmental risks and protecting public health. Through this work she aims to establish evidence-based pathways for engaging with communities to enhance public health through the co-development of low-cost technologies to address unmet community scientific needs.

Dr. Carrera is currently in the process of recruiting a PhD student interested in working with her as a research assistant for two years starting Fall 2019 in support of her work on the NIH K01 award on addressing the environmental health research questions of traditionally disenfranchised groups. This student will be applying directly to the PhD Program in Sociology. If accepted to Sociology, the Department will recommend them for consideration for admission to the Environmental Science and Policy Program. The successful applicant will be a dual degree PhD student in Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy at Michigan State University. Ideal candidates have a strong interest in community engaged research and would be interested in developing their own dissertation topic on community engaged research methods for understanding environmental health inequalities. If interested, click on Research Assistantship Fall 2019 for more information.

509 East Circle Drive
Room 417 Berkey Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1111

MSU Faculty Website

Research Priorities
Water Shutoff Protests Tap Water Hydroelectric Dam
  • Water and Power
  • Low-Cost Approaches
  • Community Capacity