Amy E. Lesen, PhD

Adjunct Instructor


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Amy E. Lesen


Dr. Amy Lesen has been an instructor in the DRLA program since 2018. As full-time faculty, she joined the Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership and Change (GSLC) as a Professor of Environmental Leadership and Participatory Change in January 2023. The overarching themes of her work are climate, environmental, and health justice: the interrelatedness between environmental and human social dynamics in coastal cities and coastal communities and how those systems are influenced by climate and environmental change. Most of her current work focuses on New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast. 

Dr. Lesen also conducts research and writing focused on the intersection between science and the arts, disaster resilience, informal science learning, scientific public engagement, science communication, participatory research, and interdisciplinarity. In 2007 She joined the faculty at Dillard University, a small Historically Black College in New Orleans, where she is still affiliated. From 2014 to 2020, Amy was a full-time research associate professor at the Tulane ByWater Institute. 

Dr. Lesen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in Marine Resources Biology and Biology and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in Integrative Biology with a concentration in biological oceanography and paleoceanography. Previously, she was an assistant professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NYC, from 2003 to 2007 and was chair of the Biology Department at Dillard from 2009 to 2012.

Areas of Expertise

  • Climate Change and Mental Health
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy
  • Disaster Mental Health
  • Ecological/Ecosystemic Risk & Protective Factors
  • Health Disparities / Health Equity
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Racial Equity
  • Resilience


  • PhD in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley
  • Bachelor of Science in Marine Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst