SEAS Hires Two Top Environmental Justice Experts
SEAS is very pleased to welcome two new members to our faculty: environmental justice experts Dr. Brandy Brown and Dr. Cedric Taylor.
Jonathan Overpeck, the Samuel A. Graham Dean and William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor of Environmental Education, expressed his appreciation for what Brown and Taylor will bring to SEAS.
“As a highly respected energy strategist and former Climate and Energy Advisor for the state of Michigan, Dr. Brown brings a depth of experience in both the public and private sectors,” said Overpeck. “Students will benefit from her dynamic approach in the environmental and energy justice space—incorporating research with emerging technologies to deliver real solutions for underserved communities.
“Dr. Taylor brings his own unique perspectives. As a sociologist, documentary filmmaker, and associate professor, he combines scholarship with an impressive ability to communicate injustice through the powerful lens of media—and has elevated the voices of communities such as Flint. Dr. Taylor will no doubt inspire students to expand and deepen their own communication and media skills as advocates for environmental justice.
“We look forward to the expertise and energy that both Dr. Brown and Dr. Taylor will contribute to the Environmental Justice program—and to SEAS as a whole,” said Overpeck.
Kyle Whyte is the George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Sustainability and the coordinator of the environmental justice specialization at SEAS. “It's exciting to welcome new faculty, especially colleagues whose work models innovative philosophies and strategies for advancing justice, impacting diverse spheres, from community to government,” said Whyte. “What great learning opportunities for students are in store!”
Learn more about Brown and Taylor in the following introductory bios and videos.
Dr. Brandy Brown
Start Date: Winter Term
Course: EAS 501.002: Climate Change Solutions & Equity
Dr. Brandy Brown is an experienced energy strategist with deep industry knowledge and demonstrated success in advancing decarbonization solutions from conception to implementation. Currently, she is Chief Innovation Officer at Walker-Miller Energy Services, where she blends research and emerging technology to deliver innovative energy solutions to historically marginalized communities.
Prior to joining Walker Miller, Dr. Brown served as Climate & Energy Advisor and led the Office of Climate and Energy which was created by Governor Whitmer in 2019 to coordinate the state’s climate action efforts including coordinating state departments on climate action, providing guidance to local governments, and advancing renewable energy throughout Michigan.
In the following video, Dr. Brandy Brown presents “Seeing the Future: Opportunities for Just Energy Solutions” for the SEAS Lunchtime Lecture Series: Justice Agendas for Environmental Crisis, recorded on Nov. 18.
Dr. Cedric Taylor
Visiting Associate Professor
Start Date: Winter Term
EAS 501: Revisiting the Flint Water Crisis
EAS 677: Documentary Filmmaking for Environmental Activism
Visiting Associate Professor Cedric Taylor is a sociologist and a documentary filmmaker. His scholarly and creative endeavors focus on racial health disparities, environmental justice, and visual sociology. A former president of the Michigan Sociological Association, Dr. Taylor is a public sociologist who employs documentary film, visual media, and storytelling to engage the wider community in conversations around inequality. He is the writer, director, and co-producer of "Nor Any Drop to Drink: Flint’s Water Crisis,” which has been screened throughout the country and internationally. Dr. Taylor holds the position of Associate Professor of Sociology at Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He received a PhD from Michigan State University and MS and BS degrees from the University of West Indies in Jamaica.
In this video, Dr. Taylor highlights the importance of youth-lead activism at the Martin Luther King Jr. CommUNITY Peace Service at Central Michigan University.