Michael Charles

Cornell University

Dr. Michael Charles (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, an Affiliate Faculty of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, and a Faculty Fellow of the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. He received his B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) from Cornell University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in CBE from The Ohio State University. As a postdoctoral researcher, he worked at the Newark Earthworks Center at The Ohio State University at Newark studying the history of Land Grant Universities and their relationships to Indigenous Dispossession in North America. His expertise involves developing computational sustainability frameworks that include dynamic ecological models and telling data-driven stories that advocate for underrepresented communities. As a Diné (Navajo) scholar, he’s dedicated to forming mutually respectful partnerships with Indigenous communities. His vision is to combine computational methods with community-centered relationships to translate his research into action. At Cornell University, the Charles Research Group is particularly interested in the vital role that landscapes can play in addressing complex sustainability challenges and how ecosystem services promote well-being to the human population. Along with his research, he works with the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change to advocate for Indigenous rights, leadership, and self-determination within UN Climate Negotiations. Although his interests and advocacy transcend many disciplines and labels, most of his work is focused on increasing Indigenous representation in academia, policy, and social movements in the pursuit of justice and collective liberation.