Sociology Graduate Students

Alycia Ellington
  • Title
    • PhD Student
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Sociology Department
  • Affiliations Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Rachel Carson College Academic Building, Rm. 124
  • Mail Stop Rachel Carson College
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064

Research Interests

Environmental & Social Justice, Community-based Education, Critical Pedagogy, Community and Youth Engaged Research, Critical Race Theory, Black History & Geographies, and Agriculture & Food Justice. 

Biography, Education and Training

Alycia Ellington (she/they) [pronounced: ah-lee-sha] — is a qualitative researcher that studies pedagogy, diverse representation, social and environmental justice theory, and equitable access within the realm of environmental education on the community level. Their current proposed work examines the critical pedagogical approaches SF Bay Area community organizations take in their educational programming for local youth. Additionally, she is interested in observing how youth participants conceptualize curriculum and lessons to draw connections and directly apply their learning in their communities. As a queer and biracial woman of color who grew up in the Bay Area, they believe that all youth, no matter their identity, should have equitable access to meaningful, diverse, and high-quality environmental education. 



Ph.D. Sociology, University of California, Santa Cruz (Expected May 2026)

Designated Emphasis: Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

Committee: Naya Jones, Ph.D. (co-advisor) and Lindsey Dillon, Ph.D. (co-advisor), and Flora Lu, Ph.D.


M.S. Environmental Studies, San José State University

Thesis Title: “Through the Eyes of Community Educators: Place-based Learning, Equitable Access, and COVID-19 Impacts on Outdoor Environmental Education in the San Francisco Bay Area”

Thesis Committee: Carolina Prado, Ph.D. (Chair), William Russell, Ph.D., and Rebeca Burciaga, Ph.D.


B.S. Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University

Concentration: Natural Resources Management and Conservation

Major Advisor: Barbara Holzman, Ph.D.



July 2023 – Sept. 2023, Graduate Student Researcher with Dr. Juan Pedroza, UC Santa Cruz


Jan. 2022 – May 2022, Graduate Student Researcher with Dr. Rebecca London, UC Santa Cruz

Project Overview: Qualitative research project utilizing Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) methodology. I worked to support two projects: (1) a documentary focused on interviews with youth (7th-12th grade) retelling their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and (2) and (led) a photovoice project with the 8th graders on a topic of their choice. I co-designed and facilitated each lesson with the youth during the photovoice project. Lessons included: an introduction to photovoice, a photography workshop, and a narrative workshop.



July 2020 – May 2021, Graduate Mentor - Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, UC Santa Cruz


May 2021– Aug. 2021, Environmental Fellow, Environmental Fellows Program, Yale School of the Environment


July 2020 – May 2021, Graduate Program Assistant (Dept. of Environmental Studies), San José State University


Sept. 2018 – July 2019, Environmental Literacy Fellow, AmeriCorps 


Jan. 2017 – Oct. 2017, Campaign Coordinator, AmeriCorps

Honors, Awards and Grants

Sept. 2021, UC Regents Fellowship, University of California, Santa Cruz


Aug. 2021, Environmental Fellowship, Yale School of the Environment


March 2021, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (Predoctoral) 


Dec. 2020, SJSU Environmental Justice Crowdfunding Grant, San José State University 


July 2020, Dierks-Morgan Scholarship, San José State University


June 2020, Richard G. Bufton Memorial Award for Environmental Toxicology, San José State University


April 2020, Les Francis Scholarship for Civic Education, San José State University


July 2019, Segal AmeriCorps Education Award


Oct. 2017, Segal AmeriCorps Education Award


June 2017 & June 2019, AmeriCorps Certificate of National Service


Jan. 2013 & May 2014, Dean’s List, San Francisco State University

Selected Publications


Ellington, A., & Prado, C. (2024). Connecting schools and communities: a look at place-based learning and equitable access in SF Bay Area outdoor environmental education. Environmental Education Research, 1–21.


Moore, A.C., Calhoun, K., Wilkinson, C.E., Alford, E., Ellington, A., Estien, C.O., Fleury, G.S., Garcia, N., Hicks, A., Mosley, C. & Vitale-Penniman, N. (accepted). Queer Black Voices in Conservation. Conservation Biology.


Ellington, A., Hice-Fromille, T., London, R. A., Cariño, T. M. & Otero, L. (2023). Las Voces de Mujercitas Empoderadas: Documenting Support for Youth with Youth Participatory Action Research. Social Sciences12(9), 483–483.




Ellington, A. (2021). ‘Equity and the Inclusion of Youth of Color in the Environmental Justice Movement’. In Yale School of the Environment and the Environmental Grantmakers Association (Eds). Reflections: 2021 Environmental Fellows Program Journal. pp. 18. 


Ellington, A., & Saavedra, D. (2020). "Everyone is Watching": Two California Women on Racism and #BlackLivesMatter. Eleventh Hour Column. 


Selected Presentations

Aug. 2023., "Growing Resistance Through Education: The Inclusion of Youth in the Fight for Environmental Justice" (Panelist), Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting — Portland, OR.


April 2022, "Black Leaders in Green Spaces: Black in Green Education" (Panelist), #BlackInEnvironment Week — Virtual


April 2022, "Black Leaders in Green Spaces: Environmental Education Best Practices & Tools Twitter Discussion" (Panelist), #BlackInEnvironment Week— Virtual


March 2022, “Through the Eyes of Community Educators: Place-based Learning, Equitable Access, and COVID-19 Impacts on Outdoor Environmental Education in the SF Bay Area” (Poster Presentation), Yale School of the Environment JEDSI’s New Horizons in Conservation Conference — Virtual


Oct. 2021, “Environmental Fellows Program Reflection” (Interview), Environmental Grantmakers Association Fall 2021 Retreat — Virtual


Aug. 2021, “Equity and the Inclusion of Youth of Color in the Environmental Justice Movement” (Oral Presentation & Panelist), Environmental Fellows Program 2021 Capstone Symposium — Virtual


June 2021, “Graduate School Panel” (Panelist), California Climate Action Corps (CAC) Training — Virtual


April 2021, “Through the Eyes of Community Educators: Place-based Learning, Equitable Access, and COVID-19 Impacts on Outdoor Environmental Education in the SF Bay Area” (Oral Presentation), San José State University Grad Slam — San José, CA


March 2021, “Outdoor Environmental Education: Community-provided and School-based” (Oral Presentation)ENVS 158: San José State University — San José, CA


June 2019, “Environmental Literacy: Empowering Schools & Communities” (Poster Presentation), Climate Corps AmeriCorps Symposium — San Francisco, CA


June 2019, “Student Leadership” (Oral Presentation & Workshop Facilitator)San Mateo County Office of Education— Redwood City, CA


April 2019, “San Mateo County K-12 Educational Resources” (Oral Presentation), ENVS 158: San José State University — San José, CA


June 2017, “Building a Sustainable Future” (Poster Presentation) Climate Corps AmeriCorps Symposium — San Francisco, CA


Oct. 2017, “Fellowship Experience and Tips for Success” (Oral Presentation) Climate Corps AmeriCorps Fellow Orientation — Oakland, CA

Teaching Interests

Teaching Assistant Appointments, UC Santa Cruz

Spring 2023, SOCY 141, Social Welfare


Winter 2023, SOCY 10, Issues and Problems in American Society


Fall 2022, SOCY 3A, Evaluation of Evidence (Social Methods)


Teaching Assistant Appointments, San José State University

Fall 2020, ENVS 198, Senior Seminar


Spring 2020, ENVS 01, Introduction to Environmental Issues


Spring 2020, ENVS 158, Environmental Education


Fall 2019, ENVS 158, Environmental Education