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Summer Sullivan

PhD candidate | University of California, Santa Cruz

Summer Sullivan is a PhD candidate in environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Broadly, her work examines how increasingly digital landscapes affect workers and ecologies. Her dissertation, provisionally titled “Leafy Greens and Digital Dreams: California Agriculture, Racial Capitalist Landscapes, and the Future of (Farm) Work,” explores how incomplete automation in the Salinas Valley lettuce industry interfaces with farmworker struggles for better working conditions. Through the lens of a materially and biologically specific entity—lettuce—Sullivan’s research broadens discussions about the future of work, race, and the limits of data in the face of the climate crisis. She is also an avid organizer with the graduate student workers union (UAW 2865), member of her department’s Diversity Committee, teaching assistant, undergraduate mentor, and engaged scholar.

Sullivan is a 2024 Data Fluencies Dissertation Research grantee.