She also has studied the disparity in food access in communities across the state of Michigan, including conducting research on the availability of healthy foods in Detroit and on the persistent challenges facing Black farmers in Michigan and the country. She expects to continue addressing these questions of food security — as well as those related to pollution exposure, fair housing, water quality, and energy justice — in New Haven and Connecticut.
One of the key attributes that distinguishes her among environmental justice scholars is her depth of training and practice in sociology. Earlier this year, Taylor, who earned a Ph.D in sociology and environmental studies at Yale, received the 2020 Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal
, the highest honor Yale Graduate School bestows on its alumni.
Taylor says that a critical factor in her decision to return to F&ES was the increased commitment the School and the larger university have shown related to the teaching and study of environmental justice, to principles of community and inclusion, and to diversify its faculty and student body.
“Given the direction that the School is taking, I believe this is a really opportune time for someone with my perspective and skillsets to come and contribute,” she said.
In 2015, Taylor received a Distinguished Alumna Award from F&ES
. At the time, she spoke about the intrinsic linkages between the environment and issues of justice, and about the urgency to make the environmental field more diverse.
“We need to look at how equity, justice, injustice plays in the nexus of what we look at when we look at the natural environment, the built environment, future environments,” she said. “You cannot leave out distributional issues. Even if the policies do not intend inequity, we have to look at how outcomes are shaped differently. And it has to be an integral part of the education that students are getting.”