Caitlin Kirby

Caitlin Kirby

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications
  • Background
  • Interests

Contact Information

TitleEnvironmental Social Sciences Researcher
Faculty RankPost-Doctoral Research Associate
Address504 South Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
VitaeDownload file


Contact Preference


Office Hours

I will respond to email requests to meet within 48 hours on Mondays-Fridays from 9-5.

My Story

I am a postdoctoral researcher studying undergraduates’ decision making and scientific literacy in the context of socioscientific issues.

Broadly speaking, I consider myself an environmental social sciences researcher. I am interested in learning about the relationships between people, education, and the environment, with the goal of discovering avenues for improving environmental sustainability and justice. I also engage in research in science education to create engaging and effective curriculum around socioscientific issues.

I use quantitative methods, particularly survey and learning assessment design, and qualitative methods, such as interviews and written responses. My research has taken place in many contexts, including climate change organizations, urban agriculture, university classrooms, and Indigenous communities. I have engaged in research partnerships in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia as a PhD student, and in Germany as a Fulbright student researcher. I appreciate opportunities to practice my Spanish and German language skills.

My Background

I grew up near Kalamazoo, Michigan and went to Michigan State University for my undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology/Microbiology. I spent a year traveling and volunteering on organic farms through the Worldwide Organization of Organic Farms and spent a year in AmeriCorps in Asheville, NC where I served as a science and mathematics classroom aide and tutor. I decided to return to Michigan State University for my PhD, receiving a dual degree with foci in Environmental Science & Policy and STEM education. In my free time, I enjoy biking, reading, and practicing and teaching yoga.

Selected Publications

Kirby, C.K., A. Fleming-Davies, and P.J.T. White. 2019. The Figure of the Day: A classroom activity to improve students’ figure creation skills. The American Biology Teacher 81(5): 317-25. Online
Kirby, C.K., C. Haruo, J.C. Libarkin, C. Caldwell, K.P. Whyte, and R. Edler. 2019. Training is Needed to Collaborate Ethically: Partnerships between Native American Tribes and Climate Science Organizations. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement 12(1).Online



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Doctorate of PhilosophyEnvironmental Science and PolicyMichigan State University2020
Bachelor of ScienceEnvironmental Biology/MicrobiologyMichigan State University2013





TitleAwarded byYear Awarded
Fulbright Student Research GrantFulbright2020
Excellence in PhD ResearchMichigan State University Earth and Environmental Science Department2020
Dr Marvin Hensley Endowed FellowshipMichigan State University College of Natural Sciences2018


Professional Organizations

Geological Society of America - Geoscience Education DivisionMember (2016)
Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)Member (2016)




SNR Program Areas

  • Applied Ecology

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Science literacy
  • Decision making
  • Socioscientific issues
  • STEM education
  • Enviromental psychology
  • Urban agriculture
  • Sustainability