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Michael Méndez

Assistant Professor

University of California, Irvine

Dr. Michael Méndez is an assistant professor of environmental policy and planning at the University of California, Irvine, an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, and Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (through a National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career Award). He previously was the Pinchot Faculty Fellow in Sustainability Studies at the Yale School of the Environment. Michael has more than a decade of senior-level experience in the public and private sectors, where he consulted and actively engaged in the policymaking process.

His first book, “Climate Change from the Streets,” published through Yale University Press (2020), is an urgent and timely story of the contentious politics of incorporating environmental justice into global climate change policy. The book was the winner of the Harold and Margaret Sprout Award, sponsored by the International Studies Association and the Betty and Alfred McClung Lee Award by the Association for Humanist Sociology.

In 2021, he became the first Latinx scholar to receive the National Academies of Sciences’ Henry and Bryna David Endowment Award for his wildfire and migrant research. The David Endowment makes an annual award (research grant) to a “leading researcher who has drawn insights from the behavioral and social sciences to inform public policy. In addition, he was awarded the 2023 William R. and June Dale Scholar Prize, which honors scholars and practitioners for excellence in urban planning and environmental justice work and research.