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About Me

 Dr. Kimi Waite's professional praxis is situated at the intersections of environmental justice education, geography, critical pedagogy, and social studies. An Asian American educator-activist-scholar with over 10 years of teaching experience, she has received both national and state recognition for her leadership in environmental education, social studies, and climate change education. She has a multiple subjects teaching credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, an M.Ed. from UCLA, and a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education from Prescott College. Her work has been published by outlets such as PBS, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Ms. Magazine, The Progressive, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Grist, Cal Matters, Rethinking Schools, and The Journal of Curriculum & Pedagogy. 


Dr. Kimi Waite will be an Assistant Professor of Child & Family Studies at Cal State LA in Fall 2023. Prior experiences include: Part-time faculty in CSU Fullerton's Department of Elementary & Bilingual Education; a TK-12 STEM curriculum specialist in Compton; and 

an elementary school teacher in South Los Angeles. In addition, Kimi has taught in South Korea and Guyana and is an experienced facilitator for in-service teacher professional development. A lifelong global citizen and former expat, Kimi has been to over 80 countries and all 7 continents. 

Environment Activists Protest

Awards & Fellowships


National Geographic Explorer: 

  • 2022 National Geographic Society grant awardee

Mentor Award: 

  • For outstanding mentorship and dedication to the North American Association for Environmental Education Civics Environmental Education Fellowship 


2021 Outstanding Elementary Social Studies Educator of the Year:

  • California Council for the Social Studies

2019 Environmental Education 30 Under 30: 

  • The North American Association for Environmental Education & USDA Forest Service


Early Career Fellow, Researcher (2023-Present):

  • UCLA Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, Institute of the Environment & Sustainability

Early Career Fellow, Graduate Student (2020-2023):

  • UCLA Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, Institute of the Environment & Sustainability

Public Voices Fellow on the Climate Crisis:

  • The OpEd Project & The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

Civics Environmental Education Fellow:

  • The North American Association for Environmental Education, US EPA & Cedar Tree Foundation


Reading Braille

Teaching & Research

Teaching Interests:

  • Teacher professional development: Critical environmental education, social justice, & environmental justice

  • Environmental justice & climate justice pedagogy

  • Educational technology, innovation, & 21st-century learning

  • Interdisciplinary elementary education: STEAM & social studies focus

  • Asian American studies and Asian American history



Research Interests:

  • Critical qualitative research: Autoethnography & portraiture 

  • AsianCrit & Asian American environmental history

  • The intersections of race, education, and the environment

  • The environmental science agency of PK-12 teachers

  • Environmental justice & climate justice pedagogy

  • Partnerships between teachers, students, & STEM professionals to advance environmental civic action

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