Trevor S. Lies

Department of Psychology

University of Kansas

I am a Ph.D. candidate in social psychology at the University of Kansas. My research investigates how modern forms of environmental engagement and ideas about land, nature, and injustice have their roots in—and can reproduce ways of being associated with—colonialism, capitalism, and racism. I approach this work from a perspective of cultural psychology informed by decolonial theory.


Trevor's research applies insights from decolonial theory, critical race theory, and cultural psychology to study how people engage with the ecological crisis. One line of research works to understand the lingering influence of colonial conceptions of nature and environmental concern in the cultural institution of U.S. state parks. Another line of work investigates how people imbue racialized and political power in determining the character of environmentalism. His active dissertation research explores the coloniality of support for continued urban development into the Wakarusa Wetlands in Lawrence, Kansas.

In 2019, Trevor graduated with distinction from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. He was awarded the Senior Award for Outstanding Performance by the KU Department of Psychology. In 2021, Trevor received his Master of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas.

Trevor strives to be an interdisciplinary, mixed-methods, and applied scholar. He has worked with non-profit organizations such as The Resilient Activist and governmental organizations such as the Douglas County (KS) Sustainability Office and Tucson Water (AZ). Trevor currently oversees the Cultural Psychology Research Group at the University of Kansas where he plans to graduate with a Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 2024. He currently lives in Arizona with his wife Valentina.


2024 Ph.D. Psychology, University of Kansas

Dissertation title: Denaturalizing Development: How Modern Conceptions of Self and Land Perpetuate Injustice

2021 M.A. Psychology, University of Kansas                                                                   

            Thesis title: Investment in Whiteness and Climate Change Skepticism

2019 B.A. Psychology, University of Kansas