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Carlie D. Trott, Ph.D.

I am an applied social psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati (UC). My research aims to bring visibility to, and work against the inequitable impacts of climate change, socially and geographically. In particular, my climate justice research agenda is driven by the questions, “What does a psychology of transformative social change look like?” and “What psychosocial and structural factors facilitate or impede processes of transformative social change?” My work draws upon theories within and beyond psychology (e.g., social movement, socio-ecological, and empowerment theories), employs community-engaged, participatory, and action-oriented research methods, and aims to center the voices and experiences of those most affected by climate change to simultaneously advance social justice and environmental sustainability.

Climate change is increasingly recognized among the most critical challenges facing humanity. The health and well-being of individuals and societies are inextricably linked to perturbations in the natural environment, and the consequences of climate change are now visible across the globe. The effects of a rapidly changing climate will be universal—affecting everyone on the planet—but unequal, disproportionately impacting the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized. Despite its scientific foundations in physical processes of the atmosphere and its primary impacts on earth systems, the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as its solutions, are profoundly social and psychological. Moreover, despite being a global phenomenon, climate change impacts and solutions are profoundly local in the sense that they are shaped—geographically and socially—by the communities within which they take place, requiring community engagement to respond to threats, build resilience, and spur societal transformation to sustainability.


An important avenue towards reducing climate change risk and vulnerability is to center the perspectives and experiences of historically and persistently excluded groups (e.g., Communities of Color; youth) who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. As a social-community psychologist, community-engaged researcher, and action-oriented scholar, my research draws upon interdisciplinary theories and frameworks and uses a variety of methods to advance climate justice through the deliberate and substantive participation of marginalized groups in climate change dialogue, decision-making, and action. Broadly speaking, my research program addresses climate justice and environmental sustainability across three primary domains: (1) Community-Led Climate Justice Action; (2) University-Community-Policy Partnerships for Sustainable Futures; and (3) Psychologies for Climate Justice.

Methodologically, my research is guided by the question, “What types of research approaches contribute to enabling—or enacting—transformative social change?”, or put differently, “How can we, as researchers, best position ourselves to bring about a more just and sustainable world through our methodological choices?” In this area, my current research explores the concept and practice of Prefigurative Methodologies, or applying means-ends consistency (i.e., “being the change”) in research and collaboration. Much of my work revolves around broad inclusivity, democratic engagement, reflective practice, methodological creativity, and social and environmental action.

I teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses in UC’s department of psychology, and I advise psychology doctoral students in UC’s Community and Organizational Research for Action (CORA) program. (I do not advise students in UC's Clinical Psychology program.)

  • Climate & Environmental Justice

  • Participatory Action Research

  • Political Participation & Social Activism

  • Public Engagement with Science

  • Qualitative & Prefigurative Methodologies


Ph.D.     Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO                  2017

  Area: Applied Social Psychology                                             

M.S.        Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO                  2013

 Area: Applied Social Psychology 

 Graduate Certificate: Women’s Studies & Gender Research  

B.A.        Columbia College, Chicago, IL                                         2007

  Major: Arts Management, summa cum laude

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