Marissa Bell

Human-Environment Geographer

Energy Justice Scholar

Nuclear Waste Researcher

I'm a social scientist with extensive training in human-environment geography and environmental justice, and expertise in community-engaged research and decision-making, particularly in the domain of nuclear waste siting and environmental governance.

My research examines how geographical context and relations of power influence public participation in environmental decision-making and scientific knowledge production. This is driven by a desire to address the growing societal need for deliberative decision-making, democratization of expertise, and deeper stakeholder engagement. My research integrates local knowledge and community stakeholders into policy processes towards more sustainable, just, and equitable outcomes, and engages and empowers communities within energy transitions. I explore these relations through a robust interdisciplinary, international, and well-funded research program looking at energy and knowledge infrastructures.

I'm currently serving in a social science and environmental justice capacity in the U.S. Department of Energy. I conducted my postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University, in the Department of Communication, where I studied how participatory research can better serve communities. I received my PhD from the Department of Geography at the University at Buffalo in 2021, where my research examined fairness and justice in nuclear waste siting in Canada through an energy justice lens to evaluate how policy translates to process. Prior to pursuing graduate school in the US, I completed a BA in Geography at King's College London, in my home town.

Previously held positions include a research fellowship at the International Institute of Science and Technology Policy at the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, where I conducted research on the political economy of US nuclear waste management. My work has been funded by a range of organizations including the American Association of Geographers, the American Association of University Women, the Society of Women Geographers, and the Macarthur Foundation. I've been invited to participate in a number of panels, workshops, and guest lectures ranging from the MacArthur Foundation-funded Harvard Science and Technology Studies Summer School, the US Department of Energy-funded workshop on advanced nuclear activities in Washington DC, and invited lectures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of Tampere, Finland.

Geography doesn't just define me as a scholar, but extends into my personal passions. Despite growing up (mostly) in London, UK, I've developed an appreciation for nature. When not furthering my research interests, I can be found running and hiking, mostly in one of many NY state parks. I have a profound love for international cultures, I enjoy cooking diverse cuisines, and have traveled extensively across Europe, North America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

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