Bio updated 2022.

Elsa Barron is a community organizer with Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light and a Research Fellow at the Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program and the Center for Climate & Security. She also works as an Environmental Journalist at the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines and as a freelance writer. Her writing has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Hill, among others. In addition to writing, she is the host of the podcast, Olive Shoot, which highlights reasons for hope in the midst of the climate crisis through the diverse angles and approaches of environmental peacebuilding around the world. Elsa Barron graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with majors in biological sciences and peace studies and a minor in sustainability. As a part of her senior capstone, Barron collaborated with a fellow student, Karli Siefker, to develop and implement an environmental education program designed for youth caught up in the criminal justice system. Upon her graduation, Barron was awarded the Glynn Award for academic excellence and leadership, the Yarrow Award for the potential to shape the field of peace studies, and a Kellogg Postgraduate Fellowship. She was also awarded a Fulbright Grant to study environmental violence and peacebuilding in India, which will begin in April 2022.


The profile below was current as of 2021 when she was part of the on-campus Kellogg community.

Elsa Barron is a Senior at the University Notre Dame studying Biology and Peace Studies with a minor in Sustainability. In the summer of 2018, Barron completed a research internship in India through the S.N. Bose Scholarship as well as the Madrasa Discourses Program, challenging her to think about the intersection of science with global issues and religion. In the fall of 2018, she joined the Kellogg International Scholars Program where she has been researching social factors that influence attitudes towards migrants in Europe and Africa. She has also studied migrant integration and interreligious dialogue in Athens through two grants from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, supported by her Kellogg mentor. Back on campus, Barron joined a lab at Notre Dame working on developing a low-cost yeast biosensor for detecting substandard drugs in developing countries, which recently published their work. In 2019, Barron spent eight months in Jerusalem where she completed an International Summer Service Learning Program and a semester abroad. Her current passion is for understanding grassroots environmental peacebuilding and she is pursuing this interest through two virtual internships during the summer of 2020: one with the Environmental Peacebuilding Association in Washington D.C. and the other with the Institute for Climate and Peace in Hawaii. Additionally, Barron was recently selected as a Udall Scholarship Honorable Mention in Environmental Leadership. Looking forward, Barron has accepted a Boren Scholarship to learn Hindi and Urdu in India during the summer of 2021 while interning at an institute for sustainable and indigenous agriculture. 

Biological Sciences
Peace Studies
Glynn Family Honors Program
Current Research

Research Interests
My research interests include the migrant crisis in Europe, particularly the experience of Muslim migrants. I am interested in understanding how religion informs these migrants’ experience and treatment in secular and Christian societies. Additionally, I am interested in the threat that climate change and bioterrorism pose to global societies.

Current Research
Currently, I am researching migration in Europe with Fr. Dowd. I am mapping the faith-based organizations that are working with migrants globally, and studying literature from multiple disciplines that addresses the intersection of religion and migration. This January, I will be studying public opinions of new mosques in Athens, Greece with funding from the Nanovic Institute.

Other Accomplishments & Recognitions
  • 2021 Fulbright Research Grant to India.
  • 2020 - Boren Scholar; provides support to undergraduates pursuing the study of languages and cultures currently underrepresented in study abroad programs and critical to national security