Robinson Part of Interdisciplinary Team Awarded NSF Grant

BUFFALO, NY – Erin Robinson, PhD, associate professor of sociology and director of environmental studies at Canisius College, is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers awarded a three-year, $796,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) INSPIRE program. The grant is titled “Advancing Groundwater Restoration Through Qualitative Analysis: What Practitioners and Stakeholders Care About and Why It Matters.” It will be used to examine the impact of groundwater remediation for communities at risk of environmental contamination. Specifically, researchers will develop risk assessment tools and develop greater qualitative research, including focus groups and in-depth interviews and analysis.

Robinson is a sociologist who concentrates her teaching and research in the areas of environmental sociology and the study of social movements. Prior to the NSF grant, Robinson received a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant for a project titled “People’s Park Community Development and Sustainability.” The project addresses the need to develop and maintain People’s Park on Main Street, adjacent to the Tri-Main Center, into a sustainable community garden. Robinson is also involved in a research project with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, assessing community perception of air quality in Tonawanda, NY. Her efforts are focused on environmental justice issues surrounding Tonawanda Coke and other industrial facilities in Western New York. In addition, Robinson works with the United Way - Tools For Living Working Group, to evaluate agencies that are awarded community grants.

The author of Community Mobilization for Environmental Problems: How a Grassroots Organization Forms and Works, Robinson also serves as chair of the environment and technology section of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP).

She received her undergraduate degree in sociology and English from SUNY Geneseo, her MA in sociology at the University of Tennessee, and her PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Robinson is part of a four-person interdisciplinary team, which also includes the following researchers from the University at Buffalo: Kenneth Shockely, PhD, philosophy, Alan Rabideau, PhD, environmental engineering; and Michael Frisch, PhD, history.

INSPIRE, which stands for Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education, was established to address some of the most complicated and pressing scientific problems that lie at the intersections of traditional disciplines.

Canisius is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation and the premier private university in Western New York.