Skip to main content
Post-doctoral Research Associate
Center for Public Engagement with Science


Jenna Hartley is a post-doctoral research associate with the Center for Public Engagement with Science. As a social and environmental scientist, Jenna thinks about how people can be both the cause of and the solution to many environmental challenges. As a former high school classroom science teacher, Jenna is particularly interested in the roles that young people play in creating solutions. Jenna has both formal and informal education experience. After teaching in classrooms in New York City and rural North Carolina, she worked for six years on designing environmental education curricula as an ORISE Fellow (Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Education) as part of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s EnviroAtlas team. As part of that work, Jenna received her NC Environmental Education certification and was awarded The Governor’s Award for the Environmental Educator of the Year from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. Jenna is a fierce advocate for education as a form of empowerment, especially as it pertains to environmental grand challenges. Her passions for learning, teaching, and the environment were cultivated at Beloit College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Geology. She went on to obtain an MS in Education from CUNY-Lehman College as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program, and an MS in Environmental Sciences & Engineering from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jenna then earned her Ph.D. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management with a focus on environmental education from NC State University. In her spare time, Jenna enjoys spending time outdoors with her growing family in her hometown of Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Professional Focus environmental education, science education, community outreach, intergenerational learning, geospatial education, environmental justice education


Ph.D., Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management, College of Natural Resources, NC State University M.S., Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill M.S., Education, School of Education, CUNY-Lehman College B.S., Environmental Geology, Beloit College

Selected Publications

Hartley, J. M., Stevenson, K. T., Pereria, S. R., Peterson, M. N., Lawson, D. F., Martinez, B.  (2023). How a marine debris environmental education program plays to strengths of linguistically diverse learners. Frontiers in Education.
Hartley, J. M., Stevenson, K. T., Peterson, M. N., DeMattia, E. A., Paliotti, S., & Fairbairn, T. J. (2021). Youth Can Promote Marine Debris Concern and Policy Support Among Local Voters and Political Officials. Frontiers in Political Science, 3, 27.
Hartley, J. M., Stevenson, K. T., Peterson, M. N., Busch, K. C., Carrier, S. J., DeMattia, E. A., … & Strnad, R. L. (2021). Intergenerational learning: A recommendation for engaging youth to address marine debris challenges. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170, 112648.
Hartley, J. M., Higgins, K. M., Peterson, M. N., Stevenson, K. T., & Jackson, M. W. (2021). Perspective From a Youth Environmental Activist: Why Adults Will Listen to Youth in Politics. Frontiers in Political Science3, 61.
Hartley, J. M., Lobatos, S., Daniel, J. L., & Lung, T. (2021). Empowering Environmental Justice Decision Makers: Increasing Educational Resources for US Environmental Protection Agency’s Mapping Tools. Environmental Justice, 14(5), 383-390.