Lauren Richter is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at Northeastern University and a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. Lauren studies scientific controversies around chemical exposure and human health effects. She is a research assistant on the National Science Foundation grant "Perfluorinated Chemicals: The Social Discovery of a Class of Emerging Contaminants." Her dissertation examines the discovery of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), a class of chemicals in widespread use since the 1950s. Drawing on participant observation, interviews, and archival research, she traces the production of scientific knowledge and ignorance pertaining to the human health effects of exposure to PFASs. Her research aims to strengthen regulatory frameworks to more effectively collect data necessary to characterize and prevent adverse environmental health effects. Lauren has published articles in the journals Environmental Science & Technology and Organization & Environment. In 2016 she was a founding member of the Racial Equity Task Force for the American Sociological Association Section on Environmental Sociology.
Prior to pursuing her Ph.D. she worked at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment in California from 2009-2013, and completed an M.A. in Sociology from Washington State University in 2008. She serves on the board of directors at Alternatives for Community and Environment, a Roxbury-based environmental justice organization. In 2015 she received the graduate department's "Outstanding Public and Applied Research Award."
Fellow at a Glance