Professor of the Practice of Environmental Studies


J.D., Cornell University

Field of Specialty

Environmental Justice, Environmental Law and Policy, Environmental Sustainability

Contact Information

Rabb Graduate Center 347

Laura J Goldin

Laura Goldin is Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University, Associate Director of the Environmental Studies Program, Director of the Environmental Internship Program and an award-winning teacher. Her courses and intensive programs have helped lead the way in hands-on experiential learning for meaningful, long-lasting understanding. Her courses and programs engage students directly in tackling critical environmental justice issues in collaboration with community partners, including working with local non-profits and residents to measure and reduce lead exposures in low income housing, assess toxic exposures to immigrant nail salon workers and hair salon workers, create public housing and school gardens with children, teachers and community residents, and engage with students in other projects and research to promote environmental health, access to healthy food and open space and community sustainability and social justice. In Goldin’s “Greening the Ivory Tower” course, students design and implement projects to reduce climate impact and enhance the overall environmental community, such as the Brandeis Rooftop Farm and Deis Bikes free bike loan program. http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/environmental/undergrad/greeningcourse/index.html

Professor Goldin offers the immersive Environmental Health and Justice Community Field Semester, a hands-on, multi-disciplinary, community-engaged learning program. http://www.brandeis.edu/jbs/pastprograms/f2011/index.html
In this program, a small group of students delve deeply into the law, policy, social impacts and science of current environmental justice and health issues challenging individuals, families and communities today. They work directly with communities most vulnerable and affected, from low-income immigrant neighborhoods in urban Boston and Waltham to rural mountain mining townships of Kentucky suffering the effects of mountaintop removal for coal extraction. The students also conduct an environmental health study of major environmental justice concern in partnership with the affected groups. The 2011 and 2013 program studies, assessing potential toxic exposures to nail salon workers, primarily Vietnamese immigrants, was widely presented locally, regionally and nationally, including the Academy of Sciences International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology in 2012 and 2014, respectively and at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition 2014. The first study was published http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10903-013-9856-y, continues to be broadly cited and informed nail salon regulations in Boston.

The 2015 program's study investigated the potential toxic exposure to hair treatment products targeted to women of color by assessing for the first time occupational exposure in Black hair salons salons, in partnership with Black women's health organizations, EPA Region 1 and others. The study raised issues of significant concern, and has been presented in numerous local, national and broader forums, from the 2016 Academy of Sciences International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology. http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/environmental/news/blackhairstudy.html to the Boston area Women of Color Environmental Health Conference.

Goldin established with her students as of 2007 the Brandeis/WATCH Housing Advocacy Clinic, a free, twice weekly drop in service for the low income and immigrant community in the local area. The Clinic assists tenants with poor living conditions typical to high-risk low-income housing such as toxic exposure to lead, asbestos and mold, helps prevent evictions and homelessness, and helps individuals and families deal with issues of discrimination and harassment. It typically provides the first critical point of contact for those in need, offering assistance and referral to a wide range of other services from financial, food and fuel assistance to medical care and English language classes. The Clinic has been in sustaining operation with Goldin and her classes and interns with hundreds of trained students assisting over two thousand individuals and families. http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/environmental/undergrad/clinic.html

Ms. Goldin came to Brandeis with more than 20 years’ experience as an environmental attorney in government, industry, public interest, and private law practice. Her work has addressed a broad spectrum of environmental issues, from hazardous waste and air and water pollution to occupational health and safety, toxic exposure, and land use regulation. She has argued precedent-setting environmental case law, and has helped to craft a number of emerging environmental protection laws and regulations. She continues to consult pro bono on a number of environmental justice, wetlands protection, land preservation and other matters. Prior to Brandeis, Laura served as General Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, where she was the chief environmental lawyer for the state agency and managed an office of 50 attorneys and administrative law judges. She received her B.A. from Yale University, and her J.D. from Cornell and Harvard Law Schools.


Goldin, Laura J. Occupational Exposure to Chemicals in Nail Salons. Proc. of American Academy of Sciences Seventh International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology. Houston, Texas: Conference Proceedings, Abstract, 2014. (forthcoming)

Goldin, Laura J. Assessing Occupational Exposure in Black Hair Salons. Proc. of American Academy of Sciences Eighth International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology. Houston, Texas: Conference Proceedings, 2016.

Goldin, Laura J. Survey of Indoor Air Quality in Black Women’s Hair Salons in Boston. Proc. of Academy of Sciences International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology 2016. Houston, Texas: American Science Press, 2016, Houston, USA. (ISBN 978-5-5323-2259-4), 2016.

Goldin, Laura J. "Indoor Air Quality Survey of Nail Salons in Boston." Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health June 2013. June 2013 (2013): <http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10903-013-9856-y#>.

Goldin, Laura J. "WATCH Housing Advocacy Clinic: Serving Community Needs." Civic Engagement Nov/Dec 2011 (2012): pg. 22.

Goldin, Laura J. Air Quality Survey of Boston Nail Salons. Proc. of Academy of Sciences 2012 International Conference of Environmental Science and Technology. Houston Texas: Academy of Sciences, 2012.

Courses Taught

AMST 102aj Environment, Social Justice, and Empowerment
AMST 191b Greening the Ivory Tower: Improving Environmental Sustainability of Brandeis and Community
BISC 6bj Environmental Health
EL 30b Housing for Good: Environmentally Healthy, Socially Just
EL 94a Experiential Learning Practicum
ENVS 43b Visions of the American Environment, Images to Action
ENVS 89a Environmental Internship
ENVS 102aj Field Research and Study Methods: Environmental Health
ENVS/THA 141a Visions of Nature and Environmental Theater: Books, Film, Performance and Activism