Jennifer Carrera

Jennifer   Carrera
  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Sociology
  • PhD Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014
  • 417A Berkey Hall
  • 509 E. Circle Drive
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • 517-353-8124


Jennifer Carrera


Jennifer Carrera is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. She has a joint appointment between the Department of Sociology and the Environmental Science and Policy Program.

Dr. Carrera’s research uses an environmental justice perspective, grounded in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methods, to examine the differential impacts of access to environmental resources on distributions of power in marginalized communities. Her area of research focuses on environmental justice issues of access to clean water and sanitation in low-income communities.

As part of MSU’s Global Water Initiative, Dr. Carrera was lead PI for a WaterCube research team which conducted a CBPR citizen science study investigating water quality associated with water shutoffs in Detroit.  This work was featured in MSU’s The Engaged Scholar Magazine.
In 2018 Dr. Carrera was awarded a Transition to Independent Environmental Health Research Career Award (K01) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), to work with community partners in Flint, Michigan to develop low-cost technologies for understanding environmental risks and protecting public health.  She aims to establish evidence-based pathways for engaging with communities to enhance public health through the co-development of low-cost technologies to address unmet community scientific needs.


Often little consideration is given to how communities produce their own information about proper ways of managing risks and opportunities. Through working with communities to develop their own research questions, collect, analyze, and interpret data community members may gain environmental health literacy as well as an interest in the governance of their resources. As the Flint Water Crisis demonstrates, knowledge about water quality is deeply tied to questions of environmental justice. Dr. Carrera uses citizen science methods along with co-development of innovative, low-cost technologies for environmental monitoring to address issues of undone science in the context of environmentally vulnerable communities.


Carrera, Jennifer S. and Phil Brown.  “Toxicity, Health, and Environment.” Ed. Katharine Legun, Julie Keller, Michael Bell, and Michael Carolan. Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology. Invited submission.  In Press.

Carrera, Jennifer S., Kent Key, Sarah Bailey, Joseph A. Hamm, Courtney A. Cuthbertson, Yvonne Lewis, Susan J. Woolford, E. Hill DeLoney, Ella Greene-Moton, Kaneesha Wallace, DeWaun E. Robinson, Ismael Byers, Patricia Piechowski-Whitney, Luther Evans, Athena McKay, Don Vereen, Arlene Sparks, Karen Calhoun. 2019. Community Science as a Pathway for Resiliency in Response to a Public Health Crisis in Flint, Michigan. Social Sciences, 8(3): 94.

Ramirez-Andreotta, Monica, Abby Tapper, Diamond Clough, Jennifer S. Carrera, and Shana Sandhaus. 2019. Understanding the Intrinsic and Extrinsic Benefits and Challenges Associated with Community Gardening to Improve Environmental Public Health Prevention and Intervention.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(3): 494.

Carrera, Jennifer S. and Catherine Coleman Flowers. Sanitation Inequity and the Cumulative Effects of Racism in Colorblind Public Health Policies. Invited submission. 2018. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 77(3-4): 941-966.

Carrera, Jennifer S., Phil Brown, Julia Brody, and Rachel Morello-Frosch. 2018. Research Altruism as Motivation for Participation in Environmental Health Research.  Social Science and Medicine196: 175-181.

Gasteyer, Stephen P., Jennifer Lai, Brittany Tucker, Jennifer S. Carrera, and Julius Moss.  2016. Basics Inequality: Race and Access to Complete Plumbing Facilities in the USA.  Du Bois Review, 13(2): 305-325.


  • Environmental Science and Policy Program
  • Center for Gender in Global Context (GenCen) Core Faculty Member
  • Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change (GJEC) specialization