Academic Focus Area: Environmental Justice, Gender & Community Action
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Advisor: Kyle Powys Whyte
Diana Copeland’s professional background is in climate and environmental justice advocacy, environmental project management, and community organizing. Diana earned her BS in Tribal Natural Resource Policy at The Evergreen State College, and her MS in Environmental Justice at the University of Michigan. She has also worked in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, connecting community leaders to solve environmental and health challenges in Rio's favelas (autonomous communities). In 2004 she was hired as the Executive Director of East Michigan Environmental Action Council were she has been active in forming coalitions between environmental organizations, community and environmental justice groups to win environmental justice and health victories. She currently serves on the board of Grassroots Global Justice as President and on the Women's and Gender Studies and Women in Learning and Leadership Advisory Board at the University of Michigan Dearborn. She was the 2013/2014 Center for the Education of Women's Activist in Residence at the University of Michigan. Right now she is adjunct faculty in Marygrove's Social Justice Program in Environmental Justice and at the University of Michigan's School of Social Work and Semester in Detroit program. It was during the Activist in Residence fellowship that she became interested (and first thought it may be possible) to attain her PhD. Teaching at Marygrove and Semester in Detroit concretized her passion for teaching at the University level.
For over a decade Diana has lived with her husband in Detroit. She is the 4th generation from her family living in Detroit. She and her husband have a 5 year old son Leroi. Family and Community in Detroit means everything to her. After her PhD she is interested in conducting research to prove, what many Detroiters already know, that collective community knowledge holds some of the best solution to the environmental challenges we face.