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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. A public scholar, her work has been published by news outlets such as PBS, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Ms. Magazine, The Progressive, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Grist, and Cal Matters, with pieces receiving up to 65 million readers. Her work has also been published in academic journals such as The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and The Journal of Curriculum & Pedagogy, and is she currently co-authoring a book about teaching climate change with Corwin Press. She has been a requested presenter for The National Education Association, Cornell University's Civic Ecology Lab, The North American Association for Environmental Education, and The National Geographic Society. 


Dr. Kimi Waite joined the Department of Child & Family Studies at California State University, Los Angeles in Fall 2023 as an Assistant Professor. Prior experiences: Lecturer at California State University, Fullerton's Department of Elementary & Bilingual Education; TK-12 STEM curriculum specialist in Compton; and an elementary school teacher in South Los Angeles. In addition, she 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, she 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, (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

Research Interests:

  • Critical environmental education

  • Environmental justice and climate justice education

  • Interdisciplinary elementary education: STEM and social studies focus

  • K-12 Curriculum: 21st Century Learning, Project Based Learning, Innovation, Inquiry-Based Learning

Additional areas of expertise:

  • Culturally responsive & culturally sustaining pedagogy

  • Social justice education

  • Student activism

Teaching Interests:

  • Social foundations of education

  • Experiential learning & environmental education  

  • Environmental justice & climate justice pedagogy

  • Teacher preparation: Multiple subject credential candidates

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