Jennifer Willett, Ph.D.

Jennifer Willett, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Photo of Jennifer Willett, Ph.D.


  • 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

Jennifer Willett is 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, they use their findings to advocate for policy changes, develop partnerships and design community development projects with their funder to address the identified community needs. This grant is funded by the Corporation of National and Community Service under Grant No. 18RE204598.

Willett is also the PI on a study that documented environmental injustices across the state in partnership with a local nonprofit, the first community-based study on environmental injustice in the area.



  • 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.
Contact Info

Phone: (775) 682-8713