Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

portrait of Neil Brenner
portrait of Neil Brenner

Bek Erl

Instructional Assistant, Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU)


Bek Erl is an Instructional Assistant for the Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization. In their research, Bek investigates environmental racism in the United States and Brazil, in partnership with Indigenous communities. Bek is interested in how people living in diaspora relate to nature; the strategies communities use to resist environmental racism; and how nature can serve as a tool for relationship-building amongst people from differing cultural backgrounds.

Previously, Bek worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Global Studies Department at the University of Chicago, as well as the Modern Languages Department at Knox College. In between college and graduate school, Bek worked as a Paralegal and Pro Bono Coordinator for the National Immigrant Justice Center’s LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative, where they provided legal aid support to migrants seeking asylum, as well as survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Bek graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago in 2023, with a focus on Anthropology and GIS. Bek received their bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages from Knox College in 2019. Outside of the office, Bek enjoys spending time with their community, baking for their friends, and running.