Indira Phukan is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education (Science Education) and a master's student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. Her work examines the societal construction of the mainstream environmental movement. What does it mean to be an environmentalist? What kind of labels do we assign to environmentalists? And, more specifically, she studies the language we use to construct a movement that often excludes diverse groups of people. By looking at the ways in which society has constructed a mainstream movement, her research helps to illuminate ways that people have been systematically and institutionally excluded, and suggests ways the we can better include more voices, thus strengthening the movement.
Before Stanford, Indira received her bachelor's degree in history and anthropology from Harvard University. She also worked as an environmental educator in Yosemite National Park. During her time there, she also worked as the diversity coordinator, where she led an initiative to help educators be more culturally responsive teachers. She has also worked as a public-school teacher, where she led her students to progress, on average, two grade levels in one year.
While at Stanford, Indira has worked with the Social Ecology Lab on several research projects. On the Environmental Learning in the Bay Area project, Indira examined community listening sessions and interviews to identity barriers to sustainability in diverse communities. She has also worked closely with a local environmental education non-profit to examine teaching best practices and evaluation methods. Most recently, she is working as a research assistant on an NSF-funded project that is examining coastal fog upwelling and its impact on both coastal redwood ecosystems and how people interact with and develop attachments to the iconic species.