Erika Kessler


Erika Kessler, Ph.D., is a researcher at AIR with expertise in climate change and environmental education and employing advanced statistical analysis techniques with large-scale, complex survey data.

Dr. Kessler brings a breadth of work experience and expertise across a diverse array of topics to AIR. She has particular interest and experience in the fields of international education development and policy, youth movements, and climate change education. Dr. Kessler has robust skills in education statistics, survey design, large-scale survey analysis, technical writing, and statistical and data analysis using Stata and R. She is also a published scholar in her fields of expertise and was recently recognized as the recipient of the 2023 Matilda Levy Paper Award. Additionally, Dr. Kessler remains active in several academic associations where she presents her cutting-edge work in climate change education, including the American Educational Research Association and the Comparative and International Education Society.

Dr. Kessler’s research at Columbia University focused on the intersection of social movements and education. Her dissertation— “What Future Are We Studying For? School Engagement and Youth Agency in the Youth Climate Movement”—investigates what drives young people to participate in the climate justice movement. Her findings emphasize the need to address structural inequalities in opportunities to learn about climate change and environmental justice. Dr. Kessler’s research reveals potential pathways for future climate change education research, policy, and practice to help promote greater climate awareness and action among young people.

While at Columbia University, she also worked as a research associate in the Center for Sustainable Futures at Teachers College and was a research fellow at the Columbia Climate School. She served as the inaugural Zankel fellow on Environmental and Sustainability Education in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, Office of Sustainability, and managed an international large-scale, 2-year research project involving census data collection of climate change education organizations around the world. Dr. Kessler also conducted a cross-national comparative public opinion study on education and large-scale international assessments like PISA and TIMSS.

Erika Kessler headshot

Ph.D., Comparative and International Education, Sociology, Columbia University; M.A., International Education Development, Teachers College, Columbia University