Kirsten Schwarz is an urban ecologist working at the interface of environment, equity, and health. Her research focuses on environmental hazards and amenities in cities and how their distribution impacts minoritized communities. Her work on lead contaminated soils documents how biogeophysical and social variables relate to the spatial patterning of soil lead. Her research on urban tree canopy has revealed large scale patterns related to income and tree canopy as well as historical legacies that impact this relationship. Most recently, Dr. Schwarz led an interdisciplinary team working on a community-engaged green infrastructure design that integrated participatory design and place-based solutions to realizing desired ecosystem services.
Her expertise in science communication and engaging communities in the co-production of science was recognized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) naming her a Fellow in the Leshner Leadership Institute in the Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology. Dr. Schwarz’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, AAAS, and the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Dr. Schwarz has a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Rutgers University. Prior to joining UCLA, she was an Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Northern Kentucky University where she directed their Ecological Stewardship Institute.