Graduation Date

Summer 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Renée Byrd

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Nikola Hobbel

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

John Meyer

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


Diversity statistics from environmental agencies nationwide reveal overall growth and improvement in gender and racial composition of employees. However, although women occupied over half of leadership and staff positions, most were white women. The Regulatory and Economic Resources office, an environmental regulatory agency in south Florida, is exceptional as a majority of their employees are women of color. Although there has been continuous development of diversity initiatives by environmental agencies nationwide, perspectives of how women of color are experiencing the environmental workplace are underrepresented when reporting diversity data.

My study aims to understand the complex role of diversity in environmental regulatory agencies, from the perspectives and experiences of women of color in South Florida. Specifically, I researched how women of color in the environmental workplace navigate the liminal position of their identities in relation to discourses of diversity. The project opens out onto the complexities of race, gender, class, nation, and other systems of difference. My case study was based in the Regulatory and Economic Resources office in Miami-Dade, FL and I used a mixed-methods approach that includes semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis to explore my research questions. The study consisted of degree holding, self-identified WOC, most of whom emigrated to the U.S. over a decade ago. My research is situated within the scholarship of feminist studies, environmental sociology, and critical American studies. The study seeks to apprehend how diversity has emerged as an institutional practice and the significance for women of color’s identity negotiation within environmental regulatory agencies.


Citation Style