Bio


Dr. Mele Wheaton is the senior research scholar in the laboratory of Prof. Nicole Ardoin. Her research interests include learning in out-of-school contexts, pro-environmental behavior, and nature-based tourism. As lead on a variety of projects, Mele has studied behavior change in ecotourists in Galapagos and California, environmental identity and action in high-school students participating in an intensive conservation education program, and professional development in environmental educators.

Academic Appointments


  • Social Science Research Scholar, Initiative Centers & Program
  • Academic Research Staff, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Administrative Appointments


  • Social Science Research Scholar, Graduate School of Education (2017 - Present)
  • Social Science Research Associate, Graduate School of Education (2015 - 2017)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Graduate School of Education and Woods Institute for the Environment (2011 - 2015)

Honors & Awards


  • Chancellor’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of California, Santa Cruz (2009-2010)
  • Fellowship, Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation (2008)
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, Center for Informal Learning and Schools (2004-2008)

Professional Education


  • BA, University of California, Santa Cruz, Biology Environmental Studies (1996)
  • PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz, Education (Emphasis in Science and Math) (2011)

All Publications


  • Using web and mobile technology to motivate pro-environmental action after a nature-based tourism experience JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM Wheaton, M., Ardoin, N. M., Hunt, C., Schuh, J. S., Kresse, M., Menke, C., Durham, W. 2016; 24 (4): 594-615
  • Nature-based tourism's impact on environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behavior: a review and analysis of the literature and potential future research JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM Ardoin, N. M., Wheaton, M., Bowers, A. W., Hunt, C. A., Durham, W. H. 2015; 23 (6): 838-858