Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg Ph.D.

SCHOOL OF Arts and Sciences

Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg, Ph.D.

Director of the Geospatial Education Institute, Professor of GIS, Social and Environmental Sciences


Social Sciences

Sheila Steinberg Ph.D.



Dr. Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg is the Director of the Geospatial Education Institute, a GIS, Social, and Environmental Sciences professor at UMass Global, and former Faculty Assembly President at University of Massachusetts Global, Irvine, CA. Steinberg is an accomplished author who has published a variety of books and edited volumes. Her most recent books is co-edited volume with Dr. Steven Steinberg entitled Resilient Communities Across Geographies Esri Press forthcoming in January 2021.  In 2016 she co-edited Extreme Weather, Health and Communities: Interdisciplinary Engagement Strategies for Springer Press and co-authored GIS Research Methods for Esri Press (2015). In 2014 she authored two entries (“Community Activism” and “Small Business Ownership”) and for the Undocumented Immigrants in the United States Today: An Encyclopedia of their Experiences (Ed.) Anna Ochoa O’Leary, ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Press. Professor Steinberg is also a co-author of  a book for Sage Publications entitled, GIS for the Social Sciences: Investigating Space and Place (2006).


Steinberg is a keynote speaker at professional conferences and meetings. She served as a panelist at the Esri UC Science Symposium and invited  GIS Day guest speaker for Kansas State University (2017). 


In 2023 she is an invited panelist for GeoWeek in Denver “Geospatial Inclusion Imperative: Diverse Leadership Shaping Tomorrow” and a panelist for “When Demand Exceed Strategies for the Rapidly Growing Geospatial Workforce.” In 2022, she was the Keynote speaker for the University of Miami GIS Day focused on climate change; while in 2021 she was the invited Keynote speaker for GIS Day at the SUNY College of Staten Island focsed on Racial Equity, Social Justice and Climate Change Gentrification. In 2020 she was invited Keynote panelist with Governor Martin O’Malley and Amy Tong who is Director for Office of Digital Innovation for a Fireside Chat Visualizing Smarter Government Presentation at the annual GIS Pro Conference. In 2016 she was invited as the keynote speaker at the European Sociological Association (ESA) Qualitative Methods Research Network Conference in Krakow, Poland spoke on GIS for community engagement & empowerment. In 2020, she spoke at the International Peace Conference in Riverside, CA as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.


She served as a panelist at the Esri UC Science Symposium and invited GIS Day guest speaker for Kansas State University (2017). And is very active in the Rotary International, having served as President 2019-20 for Irvine Club and is Vocational Services Chair for District 5320 in Orange County, Her research focuses on the connection between people, places and environments considering local knowledge, networks and the power of community engagement.


  • Social Sciences


Ph.D. in Rural Sociology

Pennsylvania State University

Dissertation: “Land Use Change and Community Involvement: A Lancaster County Case Study”

M.S. in Wildland Resource Science

University of California, Berkeley

Thesis:“Participation and the Evolution of North Coast Environmental Protest: A Rural North Coast Community Case Study”

B.A. Environmental Studies
B.A. Communication Studies

University of California, Santa Barbara
Areas of study: Environment, Communication
Graduated with Distinction in Environmental Studies and High Honors

Scholarly Activities

Steinberg, S.L. and S.J. Steinberg.

Extreme Weather Health and Communities: Interdisciplinary Engagement Strategies. 

New York, NY: Springer Press

Steinberg, S.L. and S.J. Steinberg.

GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives 

Redlands, CA: Esri Press 

Shukla, M., S.L. Steinberg and J. Lege.

STEM Education Transformation: Using Contextual Design Theory to Assist with Institutional Change

Annual STEM Conference, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Boston, MA.

Professional Experiences

Visiting Professor, Dept. of Sociology

Chapman University, Orange, CA

Taught classes on research methods, environmental sociology and served as Faculty Advisor for Chapman University Rotoract Club.

Full Professor

Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

Taught classes in the Sociology department. Led the graduate program in Public Sociology and was Director of California Center for Rural Policy.

Visiting Professor, Dept. of Sociology

Simon Fraser University

Taught class on Canada and Latin America and conducted research.


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