Dr. Mercedes Quesada-Embid is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Advocacy at Catawba College. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies, a Master’s in History, and two Bachelor’s degrees: one in Spanish Language and Culture and the other in the Biological Sciences. Her professional and personal background help to keep her attuned to the search for whole picture solutions for the pressing challenges of our world today.
She is a transdisciplinary scholar with research and teaching interests spanning the social and natural sciences, always with a clear concern for ecological integrity, equitable political-economies, and the building of truly democratic societies through strong community capacity. She believes that service, experiential learning, and critical inquiry are key elements to successful knowledge acquisition and is intent on cultivating an academic experience in the classroom that is impactful and relevant to students’ daily lives. Thus, her varied courses taught, gravitate toward and explore an array of eco-egalitarian concerns, including, the significant role of social movements as they enhance local resilience and global sustainability efforts. Tied to this work is her unbounded support for the youth who she sees as not only the ‘future generation’, but a crucial stakeholder of this present generation as well.
Dr. Quesada-Embid believes that inclusive policy and purposeful advocacy work can foster viable pathways toward cultural, economic, and ecological justice. She has a strong desire to empower a hope-and-agency-rich impact on the injustices prevalent in our communities and larger societal and institutional frameworks. She believes that in our globalized world, equitable sustainability has become the work of our time; thus, an understanding of the relationship of environmental racism, justice, and climate change, in particular, the need for an integrated climate justice ethic, centers deeply in her work.
Dr. Quesada-Embid is founder and co-chair of the award-winning Equity, Diversity, Justice and Inclusion (EDJI) Task Force at Catawba College. She serves as chair of the NAACP’s Environmental Justice and Climate Program Committee of the Salisbury-Rowan NC Chapter. She serves as an Advisory Board Member to the GALS NC Program, ensuring that the sustainability science and outdoor recreational experiences are accessible to female-identifying youth from underrepresented communities. She also serves on the board of Happy Roots and is a board member of the Center for Faith and the Arts in Salisbury. She is also a member of the Unanue Program, emphasizing mentorship and early college access to Latinx high school students in Rowan County. She also serves on the Advisory Council of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Dr. Quesada-Embid is certified by a variety of equity literacy and racial justice organizations and leads trainings on EDJI-related initiatives within Catawba College, as well as in the community. She teaches courses within the Environment and Sustainability Department incorporating equity, solidarity, and anti-oppression work into the core of the curriculum. Through her campus initiatives, coursework, research, and community engagement, she fosters direct partnerships with local, regional and international individuals excited to make a positive change in our world.