Teaching & Mentoring

At their best, both teaching and mentoring are flexible, adaptive, and open to radical transformation and change.

Political Ecology Lab

Along with her graduate student colleagues and collaborators, Dr. West curates the Political Ecology lab at Columbia University. Lab members use the space to workshop proposals, papers, and ideas; to collaboratively read key texts and discuss contemporary theoretical-conceptual issues; and to develop their professional skill set. While membership in the lab is not limited to anthropology students, there is an application process for students outside of Dr. West’s department. The lab meets bi-weekly during the academic year.

Political Ecology Major

Dr. West is the creator and director of the Political Ecology major at Barnard College. This course of study is designed to enable students who wish to pursue specialized studies in their coursework and senior thesis projects in fields relevant to environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability. Dr. West’s mentorship assists students in finding jobs and bolsters their prospects for admission to graduate programs concerned with climate change and other contemporary socio-ecological problems by demonstrating they already possess robust specialized training.

More specifically, the track in Political Ecology prepares students for 1) graduate studies in environmental anthropology, human geography, environmental studies, environmental humanities, and the like; 2) jobs at various NGOs, state agencies, and international organizations that are focused on sustainability, climate change, and the social aspects of these two areas; 3) work with progressive organizations working on decarbonization, climate change mitigation and the like; 4) environmental journalism, and 5) a range of other careers focusing on climate change.

Current & Former Students

Dr. West currently has Ph.D. and Masters students in the Department of Anthropology. She is also on the faculty in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B) and is co-chairing a faculty committee that is charged with creating a Ph.D. program for the Columbia Climate School.