Ryan Emanuel studies environmental processes related to water and ecosystems. He also studies the historical and cultural importance of water to Indigenous peoples, and he works alongside American Indian tribes to address policy concerns related to environmental justice and tribal engagement. His research group publishes on a broad range of topics, including hydrology, ecology, climate science, environmental justice and environmental history. Emanuel’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, and other organizations, and his work has been covered by National Geographic, Science Friday, and other news outlets. Emanuel was a 2020-2021 Fellow at the National Humanities Center where he held the Benjamin N. Duke Fellowship of the Research Triangle Foundation and Donnelley Family Fellowship.
Emanuel works with the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs and with individual tribal governments in North Carolina to clarify and articulate policy expectations concerning environmental justice and tribal consultation. He currently serves on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and the National Science Foundation’s Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering. He previously served on the American Geophysical Union’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee (2019-2021) and Ecohydrology Technical Committee (2011-2014).
Before coming to Duke, Emanuel was a faculty member in the University of North Carolina system (Appalachian State University, 2007-2010; North Carolina State University, 2010-2021), and was a professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. Emanuel was appointed by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to the state’s advisory council on American Indian education, and his work on behalf of Indigenous students has been recognized by awards from the United Tribes of North Carolina and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Emanuel is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe.