Research Symposium Featured Speakers Bios


All featured speakers will be live-streamed and accessible by both in-person and virtual conference participants. Plenary sessions will be recorded and available for on-demand viewing for two weeks after the presentation. 

Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time and will be on Mountain Standard Time during the conference. Session times are subject to change. 


Dr. Alberto Arenas

Tuesday, October 11, 9:00 AM MST

University of Arizona College of Education
Alberto Arenas is a professor of environmental and sustainability education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of Arizona. He specializes in the connections between pedagogy and environmental sustainability; experiential education, with an emphasis on vocational education; and the decolonization of education with a focus on restoring culturally-rich, non-commodified knowledge and skills.

Dr. Arenas is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Environmental Education, a premier educational journal and the oldest journal on environmental education worldwide in continuous operation. His publications have appeared in leading educational journals, including Phi Delta Kappan, Teachers College Record, Compare, the International Review of Education, and the Journal of Environmental Education. He received his PhD in sociocultural studies in education from the University of California, Berkeley and joined the University of Arizona College of Education faculty in 2002. 

From 2009–2019, Dr. Arenas was co-director of the Study of the United States Institute, which invited Indigenous Latin American college students to the University of Arizona to explore sustainability issues. He has also served as a member of the Scientific Committees of the World Environmental Education Congresses in Morocco and Sweden and was a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico researching Mexico’s environmental education programs. 

Dr. Viniece Jennings

Tuesday, October 11, 12:00 PM MST

Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia
Dr. Viniece Jennings is a purpose-driven scholar, educator, and environmental professional. Her research often explores urban green spaces and health in the context of ecosystem services, environmental justice, and social cohesion. She led research on green space, health disparities, and social determinants of health across the US that was recognized as top research for practice by the National Recreation and Parks Association. Her publications appear in journals such as Nature Communications, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, PLOS One, Environmental Justice, and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Her expertise is featured in outlets such as Atlanta Magazine, Live Happy Magazine, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Shondaland Digital Media. She serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at Agnes Scott College. Dr. Jennings is a JPB Environmental Health Fellow at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. She has over a decade of experience serving as a research scientist with the federal government. Prior to her role at USDA, Jennings interned at the White House Council on Environmental Quality for the Obama Administration. She holds a doctorate in environmental science from Florida A&M University and a BS from Delaware State University.