Nalini Nadkarni, Ph.D.

Founder of the Sustainability in Prisons Project
Professor, Department of Biology at University of Utah

The current Director of the Initiative to bring Science Programs to the Incarcerated in Utah (INSPIRE), Dr. Nadkarni co-founded the Sustainability in Prisons Project with Dan Pacholke of Washington State Department of Corrections. She co-directed SPP with Mr. Pacholke until 2011.

Since 1985, she has conducted forest canopy research on four continents, mainly in Costa Rica and in Washington State, supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship. In 1994, Nalini founded the International Canopy Network to foster communication among canopy researchers, educators and conservationists. While teaching and publishing 85 scientific articles and three books, she identified the need for scientists to reach – and in turn learn from – non-traditional audiences beyond academia. Toward that end, she established the Research Ambassador Program to help scientists convey their ideas and research results to such groups as faith-based communities, urban youth and incarcerated men and women. Nalini’s work has been highlighted in numerous scientific journals, popular magazines, television documentaries and conferences such as TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). She lives with her biologist husband in Salt Lake City, Utah and is working with the Utah Department of Corrections and Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office to develop a more innovative prison programs.

Learn more about Dr. Nadkarni at her personal website.