Timnit Kefela

Timnit Kefela


Timnit Kefela (she/her) is a PhD candidate at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She currently researches the sources, fates and pathways of microplastics in urban soils and proximal coastal sediments. Being a city kid herself, she firmly believes that the urban environment deserves to be healthy and pollution-free for communities like her own and beyond. Prior to her doctoral research, she worked on botanical research focused on plant-microbial interactions and their role in enhancing plant growth, promoting defense against plant disease, and drought stress tolerance. She also led community-based initiatives focused on increasing nutritionally dense food access and pollution remediation in Camden, New Jersey.

Timnit is deeply passionate about accessible science and inclusive environmental futures. She has organized around centering environmental justice in solution-making and core environmental curricula, served as the scientist on interdisciplinary teams setting policy on microplastics and co-created spaces and workshops that center the voices of minoritized scholars in environmental science and STEM at her institution, nationally, and internationally. Timnit is a dedicated educator and has taught an expansive array of applied scientific courses for students ranging from elementary school to graduate school. She identifies it as a conducive platform for critical thinking and designing solutions for an inclusive environmental future. She holds a B.S. degree in Biology with a minor in English Literature and M.S. degree in Biology from Rutgers University-Camden.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
Academic Background:
UC Santa Barbara, Ph.D.
Current Position:
Ph. D. Candidate
UC Santa Barbara
Environmental & Public Health
Environmental Justice
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Policy

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