Passing of Professor Nina Roberts
March 29, 2022
Photo Credit: Dudley Edmondson
We are saddened to announce the recent passing of Dr. Nina Roberts, a professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism. Nina died on Monday, March 28, after battling cancer. Nina’s research was highly regarded in the areas of race/ethnicity, culture and natural resources. She was also nationally known for her work pertaining to urban youth, women and girls outdoors, including the connection to developing healthy lifestyles. Nina was widely acknowledged for her commitment for her social and environmental justice work, including her advocacy for breaking down barriers — especially relating to diversity, park access and recreation opportunities on public lands.
Nina joined the faculty at SF State in 2005 after spending 22 years of her career in the field. A Fulbright scholar, she joined the ranks of higher education from the National Park Service, where her employment stemmed from a graduate internship in the Intermountain Region while completing her Ph.D. at Colorado State University. At SF State, her leadership positions included serving as director of the Pacific Leadership Institute and, most recently, as the current faculty director of community engaged scholarship & learning at the Institute for Civic & Community Engagement. During her six-year tenure with ICCE, Nina promoted and supported academic service-learning, campus-community partnerships, and advanced faculty development in the areas of the curriculum and community-based research.
Roberts was a prolific researcher and author of numerous publications in areas including outdoor programming and leadership, youth development, and race/culture and gender issues. She conducted youth development research with a variety of organizations, including the U.S. Forest Service, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and East Bay Regional Parks. Roberts also served on numerous boards, including Yosemite Institute, GirlVentures, UC Berkeley’s Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity and the Lawrence Hall of Science. Nina was a force of nature-full of passion, enthusiasm, and energy. We lost a friend, mentor, colleague, and fierce advocate for social justice. She leaves behind an enduring and inspirational legacy. We will miss her greatly.