Olivia Aguilar


  • Leslie and Sarah Miller Director of the Miller Worley Center for the Environment
  • Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Olivia Aguilar

Olivia Aguilar is a first-generation college student who completed her B.S. and M.S. in horticulture Science at Texas A&M University where she studied children’s gardens and their effect on youth environmental attitudes. After teaching in public schools, she went on to receive her Ph.D. in natural resources at Cornell University, studying theories of learning in environmental education. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of community, race and transformative learning in environmental education. Specifically, she examines how and why environmental and science learning communities are exclusive and how they can be more inclusive of groups traditionally marginalized. She has published articles in Environmental Education Research and in the Journal of Environmental Education. She has book chapters in Across the Spectrum: Resources for Environmental Educators and in Urban Environmental Education Review and has written for Truthout. Her current research involves collecting oral histories from Latinx members to re-frame what it means to be “outdoors.”


  • Ph.D., Cornell University
  • M.S., B.S., Texas A&M University

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Recent campus news

The Summit on Women’s Leadership on Climate Justice at Mount Holyoke College held more than a dozen events over the course of the three-day summit that included keynote speakers, panelists and workshop leaders, all who were women or gender-diverse people.

Mount Holyoke alums, faculty and administrators recently spoke with students about career opportunities during the “Exploring Future Possibilities in Environmental Careers” panel series put together by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment.

Angelica Patterson studies how trees adapt and move in response to increasing average temperatures; she uses a shotgun to collect tree branches that are many feet off the ground, which led the Guardian to dub her “the shotgun scientist” in a 2020 article.

Recent Publications

Gibson, L.M., Busch, KC, Stevenson, K.T., Cutts, B.B., DeMattia, E.A., Aguilar, O.M., Ardoin, N.M., Carrier, S.J., Clark, C.R., Cooper, C.B., Feinstein, N.W., Goodwin, J., Peterson, M.N., Wheaton, M. (2022). What is community-level environmental literacy, and how can we measure it? A report of a convening to conceptualize and operationalize CLEL. Environmental Education Research DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2022.2067325

Aguilar, O. M. (2021). The critical piece missing from a critical food studies curriculum. Food, Culture & Society, 24(2), 325-335.

Recent Honors

Aguilar, O. (2023) Was invited to contribute to a special issue of Diálogo on her work examining the Latinx outdoor experience. As a contributor, she was also invited to participate in the Latinx Outdoor Recreation Symposium and Workshop.

Has been selected as the speaker for this year’s Daffodil Lecture on Sustainability and the Environment for the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her talk, “Seeking the Justice in Environmental and Sustainability Work” will premiere March 15, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Was one of five panelists who spoke on Food Justice and Community Gardening in September hosted by the Women of Color Leadership Network at UMass Amherst in collaboration with the Pioneer Valley Worker’s Center. 

Just completed her two-year position as Chair of the North American Association for Environmental Education’s (NAAEE) Research Symposium, convening the first virtual symposium from October 8-10 in the organization’s history. 

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