Mele Wheaton

Mele Wheaton


Mele is currently a research associate Stanford University where she studies nature-based tourism, environmental behavior change, and environmental education . Mele completed her Ph.D in Education at UC Santa Cruz in 2011, where she concentrated specifically on environmental education and informal learning. She has wide-ranging experience as a scientist and as an educator and has an intimate, working knowledge of the needs of the environmental education field. After completing her undergraduate studies in Environmental Studies and in Biology, Mele taught environmental education in Alaska, Arizona and California at a variety of informal science institutions, including Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Tucson Botanical Gardens, and The Oakland Museum of California. While in Arizona, she also spent six months observing nesting bald eagles in the Sonoran desert for the Department of Game & Fish. Her master's research with the Monterey Bay Aquarium investigated middle-school girls' ideas about science at a bilingual marine science camp. Her dissertation research examined high school students' experiences of conservation science as they participated in an environmental science program that partnered an an informal learning institution, their school, and scientists working in the local community. Mele is particularly interested in education in under-served communities and in how to better bridge the gap between scientific research and environmental education.

Fellow Activity

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
University of California Santa Cruz, Ph.D.
Current Position:
Research Associate
Stanford University, Graduate School of Education and Woods Institute for the Environment
Environmental Education
135 Kenny Ave
Santa Cruz, California 95065

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