Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is a forest ecologist and science communicator. She was on faculty at The Evergreen State College for 20 years and, in 2011, joined the University of Utah as a Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship, the 2011 NSF Public Service Award, the 2012 AAAS Award for Public Engagement, and the 2013 Carr Medal for Conservation. Her research concerns the ecological roles of canopy-dwelling biota in forest ecosystems. She has published over 100 scientific articles and four scholarly books.
She is deeply interested in public engagement with science,; she has given two TED Talks and been highlighted in magazines such as National Geographic, Glamour, and ASTC Dimensions. She created the Research Ambassador Program to train scientists to engage the public in non-traditional venues, such as churches, preschools, tattoo parlors, and sports stadiums. In 2005, she co-founded the Sustainability in Prisons Project, which brings science, scientists, and nature to incarcerated men and women, and is now being expanded to a national level.