Jennifer Willett

Headshot of Jennifer Willett wearing a gray shirt against a gray background

Jennifer Willett, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


  • Ph.D. in Social Work, University of Connecticut, 2015
  • M.S.W. in Social Work, University at Buffalo, SUNY, 2008
  • B.A. in International Relations, The Ohio State University, 2004

Affiliated faculty

  • University of Nevada, Reno, Ozmen Institute for Global Studies

Research interests

  • Environmental justice and slow violence
  • Responses to environmental degradation in marginalized communities
  • International social work
  • Community-based research methodologies

Current research

I am currently the PI of a photovoice study that documents local environmental injustices with high school students from Title 1 high schools as co-researchers, in partnership with AmeriCorps NCCC, Upward Bound, and the Nevada State Library. As a team, we use our findings to advocate for policy changes, develop partnerships, and design community development projects with our funder to address the identified community needs . This grant is funded by the Corporation of National and Community Service under Grant No. 18RE204598.

I am also the PI on a study that documented environmental injustices across the state in partnership with a local non-profit, the first community-based study on environmental injustice in the area.

Courses Taught at the University of Nevada, Reno

  • 351: Global Social Work
  • 440: Introduction to Social Work Research
  • 741: Practice and Program Evaluation


  • Kvam, A. & Willett, J. (2019). ‘Mining is like a search and destroy mission’: The case of Silver City. Journal of Community Practice.
  • Willett, J. & Kvam, A. (2019). Building resilience to environmental problems in Kenya: Lessons for aid organizations from three local successes. Journal of Community Practice, 27(1), 45-59 . DOI:  10.1080/10705422.2019.1580651
  • Willett, J. & Kvam, A. (2019). Building resilience to environmental problems in Kenya: Lessons for aid organizations from three local successes. Journal of Community Practice, 27(1), 45-59 . DOI:  10.1080/10705422.2019.1580651
  • Lu, J., D'Angelo, K., & Willett, J. (2019). Learning through teaching: Social work PhD students as educators and learners of research. Journal of Social Work Education. doi:10.1080/10437797.2018.1508390
  • Willett, J. (2019). Micro disasters: Expanding the social work conceptualization of disasters. International Social Work, 62(1), 133-145.
  • Willett, J. & Sears, J. (2018). Complicating our understanding of environmental migration and displacement: The case of drought-related human movement in Kenya. International Social Work.
  • Pankow, J., Willett, J., Frisman, L., Pearson, F., Burdon, W., Swan, H., Yang, Y., & Patterson, Y. (2018). Evaluating fidelity to a modified NIATx process improvement strategy for improving HIV services in correctional facilities. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11414-017-9551-1
  • Yang, Y., Pankow, J., Swan, H., Willett, J., Mitchell, S., Rudes, D., & Knight, K. (2018). Preparing for analysis: A critical step in large-scale multisite qualitative research studies. Quality and Quantity. DOI 10.1007/s11135-017-0490-y
  • Belenko, S., Visher, C., Pearson, F., Swan, H., Pich, M., O'Connell, D., Dembo, R., Frisman, L., Hamilton, L., & Willett, J. (2017). Efficacy of a structured organizational change intervention on HIV testing in correctional facilities. AIDS Education and Prevention 29(3), 241-255 .
  • Mitchell, S., Willett, J., Monico, L., James, A., Rudes, D., Viglioni, J., Schwartz, R., Gordon, M., & Friedmann, P. (2016). Community correctional agents' views of medication-assisted treatment: Examining their influence on treatment referrals and community supervision. Substance Abuse, 37(1), 127-133.
  • Mitchell, S., Willett, J., Swan, H., Monico, L., Yang, Y., Patterson, Y., Belenko, S., Schwartz, R., & Visher, C. (2015). Defining success: Insights from a random assignment, multi-site study of implementing HIV prevention, testing, and linkage to care in US jails and prisons. AIDS Education and Prevention, 27(5), 432-445.
  • Willett, J. (2015). Exploring the intersection of environmental degradation and poverty: Environmental injustice in Nairobi, Kenya. Social Work Education, 35(5), 558-572.
  • Willett, J. (2015). The slow violence of climate change in poor rural Kenyan communities: "Water is life. Water is everything.". Contemporary Rural Social Work, 7(1), 39-55.
  • Willett, J. (2013). Finding refuge from refuse: A case study in Mombasa, Kenya. International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, 8(3), 107-116.
  • Critelli, F. & Willett, J. (2012). Struggle and hope: Challenging gender violence in Pakistan. Critical Sociology, 39(2), 201-221.
  • Critelli, F. & Willett, J. (2010). Creating a safe haven. International Social Work, 53(3), 407-422.